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New England Patriots 2022 Season Preview

New England Patriots
Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

The New England Patriots had a great ride for over a decade and a half when Tom Brady was part of the franchise. Brady, combined with the head coach Bill Belichick took the Patriots to a new level of excellence. New England was considered a force to be reckoned with. Apart from Brady and Belichick, many other factors were at play. The Patriots were great at picking up good draft picks. They always made the right moves during the off-season and picked team performance over individual performance. However, it all changed when Brady left to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

New England Patriots 2021 Season

While Brady was turning around and showing his power at Tampa Bay, the Patriots were struggling hard offensively. 2020 was the first season in twelve years that the Patriots missed the playoffs. Though 2021 was much better, we can still find many loopholes in the Patriots team. First, they spent a lot during the off-season to make a point that they were better than the 2020 Patriots.

Secondly, they still failed to get long-term explosive players, and lastly, the most obvious and best choice, their new franchise QB Mac Jones didn’t seem too impressive. It looked like a Belichick show which took them to a 9-4 record. However, the Patriots failed to capitalize on their initial success, losing four of their final five games. Though they reached the playoffs, the Patriots lost in the wild-card round 47-17 to the Buffalo Bills.

The 2021 final game was a good indication for the Patriots and Belichick to put them back into rebuilding mode. However, the Patriots failed to make any significant changes. But on top of that, the Patriots made some questionable choices during the offseason. First, they traded Shaq Mason to the Buccaneers for a fourth-round pick. Second, the Patriots didn’t re-sign standout player guard Ted Karras during the offseason.

Third, the Patriots failed to sign any notable defensive players; they could not get a good linebacker. But the most significant change reflecting the Patriots’ defense is letting go of J.C. Jackson, who ended up signing with the LA Chargers. Jackson is a raw talent who can fit in any scheme. They should have tried to negotiate with him and retain his services.

During the NFL draft, the Patriots selected Cole Strange as an offensive guard in the first round, Tyquan Thornton (wide receiver) in the second round, the cornerback Marcus Jones in the third round, Jack Jones (cornerback), Pierre Strong Jr. (running back) and Bailey Zappe (quarterback in the fourth round. The Patriots also drafted Sam Roberts, Chasen Hines, and Andrew Stueber. The thing about most of the new acquisitions is that it is uncertain how these new players are going to end up. Most of the time, the players are not ready to significantly impact their first season.

Previewing the Patriots’ Offense

Mac Jones will surely be more mature this season, but losing the offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as a head coach to the Las Vegas Raiders is the most significant setback for the Patriots. Jones will have DaVante Parker as WR1, who showed his explosiveness while playing for the Dolphins. Jones will also have another receiving threat, ‘Tyquan Thornton’ -a second-round draft pick in 2022- so Jones can throw deep this season with more confidence. Apart from these two, Jones has other options in Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, and Jakobi Meyers.

Hunter Henry will be an interesting receiver to watch on the larger target size. Last year he caught nine touchdowns. Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson will be in the backfield as RB1 and RB2. James White, a long-time Patriots, all-around running back, may not be able to join the team’s starting roster in the first few weeks, so we can expect the rookie Pierre Strong Jr. to fill the role. Overall, the Patriots have a decent offense; however, it’s too early to predict anything with certainty.

Previewing the Patriots’ Defense

In 2021 Patriots’ defense remained in the top 10 for most of the regular season. However, during the last few weeks, the defense was visibly struggling. During this time, the Patriots lost four of the five remaining games. By a large margin, they also fell to their rivals, the Buffalo Bills, in the wild-card playoff game. Clearly, the defense struggled. The unit especially struggled against the players who were dual-threat QBs or who were good at run-pass plays.

Well, this year, unless Belichick has been training his defense with some unknown methodologies, we will probably see the same type of offense on display in the later half of the 2021 season. From the defensive side, Cameron McGrone and Mack Wilson Sr (both linebackers) will play in their inaugural season for the Patriots. In addition, Christian Barmore and Davon Godchaux will be trying to block and rip through the opposing offensive line on their front side of the defense.

On the edge, side Patriots have Lawrence Guy, Henry Anderson, and Deatrich Wise Jr, who is very good. The back end of the Patriots has gotten slightly weaker, but they still have their favorite safety Devin McCourty. Other starters include Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger, and seasoned Jabrill Peppers. Comparatively, the Patriots’ defense is still better than the offense, but they must hold themselves under pressure against above-average quarterbacks.

Important Games

1. Miami Dolphins: September 11

2. Baltimore Ravens: September 25

3. Green Bay Packers: October 2

4. Cleveland Browns: October 16

5. Buffalo Bills: December 1

6. Cincinnati Bengals: December 24

Patriots Outlook for the 2022 Season

Expected Wins-Losses: 8-9

In conclusion, we can say that some questionable moves that the Patriots made in the offseason, combined with their still rusty management, will prevent them from reaching the playoffs in 2022. Though it’s Mac Jones’ team and not Brady’s, Jones is nowhere near Brady when he became a starter. Mac Jones is a perfect fit for Belichick. He respects tough coaches, and his mentality and demeanor about coaches’ calls have been great since he set foot in Alabama to play for Nick Saban. Still, having some offensive weapons will not translate into an automatic playoff berth.

Especially when you have teams like Buffalo Bills in your division and the other two teams New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, have also made some bold moves. This is not a piece of great news for the Patriots fans, but rebuilding takes time, and even a seasoned pro like Belichick will need some time to take the Patriots back to their former status.

Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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