The New England Patriots, with 2nd year QB Mac Jones at the helm of the offense and the bonafide GOAT of professional football coaching Bill Belichick are back. In 2022, Belichick and company will be looking not only to run back last season’s successes, which made them once again Vegas NFL odds darlings but also to continue cementing these new-look Pats as a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.
While last season everyone believed that the Patriots would go through a transitional phase filled with doubts and experimentation, something that was very well documented by NFL lines experts all around, Jones, the former Alabama star QB took well to his new gig and ran with it up until taking New England back to the playoffs once again. Now, as a new season is bound to begin, are the Patriots ready to have to deal with an AFC East division where the Bills are lords of the manor according to the top NFL odds outlets, and the Jets and Dolphins all went through major facelifts to become more competitive or just plainly competitive at all? Yes, New York, that’s for you.
New England Patriots Last Season Performance
The New England Patriots entered the 2021 season with more doubts than anything else, especially after having reeked no benefits from having Cam Newton take over as their starting QB the season before. After hitting the draft and selecting former Alabama College Football Champion QB Mac Jones with the 15th pick of the draft, Belichick and the Pats started to begin the mission of reshaping the team around Jones as their franchise QB for the foreseeable future.
After starting their season with a loss in Miami, the Pats started an up and down
rollercoaster ride in the win/loss column that saw them having a 2-4 record by week 6 of the competition before, everything started turning around for Belichick’s squad. A subsequential seven-game winning streak that saw the Patriots take down teams like the Chargers, Titans, and Bills, saw New England even taking over the leadership position of the AFC East division, something unimagined by everyone, especially Bills fans.
After a week 14 bye, the Patriots would come back to lose three of their last four games, leaving them with a 10-7 record, just enough to snatch up a wildcard berth for the season’s playoffs. What came next? Well, in simple terms, a beating on the hands of Josh Allen and the Bills at Orchard Park, Buffalo, of 47-17, that saw New England’s season come to an end.
New England Patriots Off-Season Changes
During the offseason, what strikes as the most important change in the Patriots organization is the departure of Belichick alumnus and now head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Josh McDaniels. McDaniels, who for years was wanted by almost, if not every team that has gone through a coaching change continued to delay his departure from Foxborough, but after receiving an irresistible offer from the Raiders, the time had finally come for Belichick’s most advanced protégé to finally head out on his own.
The offensive and defensive coordination gigs now in New England are run by three people, Bill Belichick, former Pats DC and Lions HC, back with the Patriots as a senior football advisor, and former Giants HC Joe Judge, back under Belichick’s tutelage as offensive assistant to the team.
Lastly, the other main change in the team was the departure of star CB J.C. Jackson who Foxborough for the sunny sights of LA joining the Chargers, a team poised for a strong postseason and even probably a Super Bowl run this upcoming season.
New England Patriots Key Additions
The Patriots have been working rather quietly this off-season when it comes to improving their roster for the upcoming season. After seeing their star CB J.C. Jackson leave for LA, the Patriots decided to bring back former Pats CB Malcolm Butler out of retirement, signing him for a two-year contract to try and fill in the gap left by Jackson. Staying on the defense, the other major moves on the roster come from the resigning of ILB Ja’whaun Bentley to a two-year deal worth $6 million, as well as signing former Giants safety Jabrill Peppers to a one-year deal and Texans CB Terrance Mitchell as well.
On offense, the key for the Patriots has been to continue giving Mac Jones more and more weapons to be able to work with as well as to protect him. The most important moves thus far have been the re-signing of RT Trent Brown to a 2-year $13 million deal as well as bringing in former Saints WR Ty Montgomery to further spruce up the Pats’ receiving core.
New England Patriots Key Subtractions
Where to begin with how the Patriots have had to deal with the departures suffered this offseason. Right off the bat, the most important subtraction from the team comes from former OC Josh McDaniels leaving Belichick’s side to venture out on his own as the new Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, a team poised to be one of the strongest and most entertaining out of the AFC West division.
But that’s not all the damage the AFC West dealt on the Pats this offseason as also star CB J.C. Jackson decided to go chasing after sunsets and big bucks by joining the LA Chargers, making LA’s defense even more dominant, if that’s even possible.
Aside from that, the departure of players like RB Brandon Bolden who decided to follow McDaniels to Las Vegas, ILB Kyle Van Noy who left for the Chargers like Jackson, and C Ted Karras who will now be a part of Cincinnati’s offensive line stands out as the most important subtractions from the team’s roster heading into the 2022 season.
New England Patriots Head Coach Analysis
Is there anything to be said about Bill Belichick that hasn’t been said already? I know that might sound like a cliché but if you look at the man’s pedigree, trophy case, and all-around influence in the sport of professional football, not much is to be said about the greatest coach to ever work in the NFL. Even after having seen his protégé Josh McDaniels leave his side, and the OC position in New England to head out to Las Vegas, Belichick does not seem to be faced with any challenge whatsoever.
For this upcoming season, instead of looking for a replacement for McDaniels, Belichick, a defensive-minded coach has decided to take a more active role alongside Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as the main shot callers in the team’s offense, a move that comes as a shock to some, but that strangely enough, still makes sense in the team.
The New England Patriots are Bill Belichick’s team. It doesn’t matter when you read that, it’s still probably going to be true. That’s why New England fans can rest easy at night, because even when having to find ways to start over from scratch, like last year with Mac Jones and this year without McDaniels, Belichick always finds a way. It’s the law of the land, the law of the NFL, and above all, the law of the Patriots.
New England Patriots Injured Players at the Beginning of the Season
The New England Patriots have had to deal with a plethora of injuries this offseason that has seen many players still holding a status of “questionable” for their week 1 season opener against the Dolphins in Miami. On offense TE Hunter Henry, RB James White, OT Isaiah Wynn, WR Jacoby Meyers, and TE Dalton Keene are all expected to hopefully come back before the start of the season, but as of now, their status remains.
On defense, new FS Jabrill Peppers as well as CB Marcus Jones, DT Byron Cowart, and DE Henry Anderson also all stand with a “questionable” status for week 1, with the team hoping that said players can be back before the beginning of the preseason to give them enough time to fully get immersed into the team’s strategies and schemes.
New England Patriots Offense
New England’s offense is Mac Jones’ and Mac Jones’ alone to lead and take to the next level. After showing some seriously promising signs in his first year as QB for the Pats, the former CFP champion with Nick Saban’s Alabama team is ready to once again hit the field and continue to make New England’s offense one of the most effective in the league.
If you remember last year’s Patriots offense, the team was not necessarily known for their flashy style of playing but rather more for how effective and efficient they were, scoring decent amounts of points but always maintaining a strong and safe idea of how to play with less than usual. They had a good running game, a good passing game, and a solid offensive line to protect Jones in the pockets. That kind of playing allowed them to be a middle-pack team when it came to offensive team stats around the league, but now in 2022, the idea is for the numbers to go up and allow them to break into the top-10 of best offensive units in the league.
As far as Mac Jones goes, in his 2nd year in the league and 2nd year as the starting QB for the team, Patriots fans should expect a definite increase in talent, potential, and growth, where he can continue to become the unquestioned leader of New England’s offense for the foreseeable future.
New England Patriots Defense
While New England’s offense did a decent to good job last season and is expected to get better, New England’s defense was the most pivotal component to the team’s success in 2021. Led by the likes of returning LB Matt Judon, the plans are for New England’s defense, under Bill Belichick’s and Matt Patricia’s tutelage to go from being the 2nd best defense in the league to become the overall best defensive line and secondary, not only in the AFC but in the NFL.
By adding players like Malcolm Butler to try and cover up the hole left by J.C. Jackson and Jabrill Peppers to further strengthen the team’s secondary unit, New England will be looking to find the perfect mix of explosiveness and order, especially if they want to be able to try and have a chance to give the Bills some sort of competition in the AFC East divisional title race.
Still, if there’s one department where the team will once again shine through in 2022, it will be on the defensive side of the ball.
New England Patriots Special Teams
The New England Patriots have usually been a pretty strong team when it comes to the special teams department. Punting and kicking shouldn’t be an issue again this year, with starting punter Jake Bailey, starting veteran kicker Nick Folk, and long snapper Joe Cardona coming back to the team in 2022.
When it comes to the punt and kick returning duties, the responsibilities down the field will fall on the hands of Jakobi Meyers and Ty Montgomery, two very solid options given their rushing abilities and their strength when returning the ball downfield to the best positions available for Mac Jones and the offense to take over.
New England Patriots Prediction for the 2022 Season
For the 2022 NFL season, the expectations for New England are high but still not overwhelmingly hyped. A lot is expected from Mac Jones as he enters his 2nd year as a pro, leading New England’s offense once again. With that said, for the Pats’ offense to make a true leap in quality, they need, NEED, to pick up the slack a bit when it comes to being more explosive down the field, as well as they need for Mac Jones to find a midway point between trying to go for highlight-reel plays and playing sober and effective football, with less yardage per down, but with more effective movements down the field.
Defensively, New England’s DL should once again be a monster of a unit, with Matt Judon ready to take the AFC by storm as one of the best defenders in the conference, with a Pro Bowl and even All-Pro team selection probably coming his way.
As far as the season itself goes, the Patriots will surely have a long-fought seasonal battle against the Dolphins. Without throwing any shade to the new-look Jets, Miami seems like the team that New England will have to keep the closest eye on throughout the season in the fight for the 2nd place in the division that could end up taking the Pats back to the playoffs once again this season. Lastly, expect the team to have another 10-win season in 2022, something that’s almost a given for Bill Belichick’s squad year in and year out.
New England Patriots Final Thoughts
As a Jets fan, it’s honestly hard for me to speak volumes of New England without feeling the need to take all my words back and just bash Belichick and the Pats all around the place. But as a football fan, it’s impossible not to commend New England as one of the most effective teams in the league, even after having lost Tom Brady and having to do a complete overhaul of the team without any real-time to take a breather.
It’s almost impossible to think about the NFL without thinking about the Patriots as one of the teams to watch and in 2022 it will most likely be more of the same. While this is not a team that can have actual postseason relevance right now, their panorama is much brighter than for other teams in the AFC, especially the Dolphins and Jets in their division, so good on Belichick and good on the Patriots.
New England Patriots Team Leaders
New England Patriots Team Ranked Stats
New England Patriots Team Scorebox
New England Patriots Team Injuries
New England Patriots Schedule/Results
New England Patriots Team Standings
New England Patriots Team Roster
New England Patriots FAQ
How Much Did Tom Brady’s Departure Hurt the New England Patriots?
The New England Patriots and Tom Brady relationship could easily be taken as the biggest romance story in the NFL. Ever since Brady joined the team in the 2000 draft, one of the most successful football dynasties took off, with the QB and head coach Bill Belichick leading the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles before Brady decided to pack his belongings and take his talents to Tampa Bay.
It’s an understatement to say that absolutely nobody expected Brady and the Patriots to ever part ways, and yet it happened. After Brady’s departure to the Buccaneers a whole new era needed to be ushered in New England, but how can you move on from Brady and expect results even close to what was met before? There is no way, and that’s something that New England had to learn in a rather rough way.
Before Mac Jones arrived on the team last season, the Patriots took a chance on Cam Newton to take over the team’s offense, and well, we all remember how that played out. But if there is one football mind that nobody should ever doubt, it’s Bill Belichick’s. Even without Brady, Belichick made it work for New England in 2020 and now with Mac Jones in 2021 and moving forward.
How Many Times Have the New England Patriots made it to the Super Bowl?
The Patriots and the Super Bowl go together like strawberries and cream. Ever since joining the league in 1970, New England has gone to a total of eleven Super Bowls, winning six and losing five. Funny enough while all of their six wins happened during the Brady-Belichick golden age of the team, the Pats also lost a couple of Super Bowls in that same time, with the Pats losing twice to Eli Manning and the Giants, in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI and then losing to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles, thanks in part to the now-famous “Philly Special” play in Super Bowl LII.
The team’s other Super Bowl losses came in SB XX against Mike Ditka and the “Monsters of the Midway” in 1985 and then again in Super Bowl XXXI against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.
Which Patriots Players Have the Best Chances to Make It to The Pro Bowl in 2022?
Three players come to mind when thinking about Patriots players who could have a strong chance to make it to the Pro Bowl in 2022. On the one hand, and an obvious choice, there’s Matt Judon. Given Judon’s dominance as the leader of New England’s defense, it would almost be unfair for him to not get a Pro Bowl nod in 2022, making that the third in his career, as well as a first or second-team All-Pro nod as well. Secondly, and staying within the obvious, Mac Jones. He already got the nod once in his rookie season, and given how much is expected from him in 2022, if he can deliver, another nod will come his way.
Last but certainly not least, if you’re looking for a very good player not only to follow throughout the season but even for fantasy purposes, then keeping a close eye on DT Christian Barmore is the way to go. In his 2nd season in the pros in 2022, his stock as one of New England’s most important players on defense will continue to rise, and if he can score a decent amount of sacks as well as tackles and stops, he should be in the running for a Pro Bowl invitation.
How Easy Is the Patriots Schedule For the 2022 Season?
For some time, the Patriots’ schedule season in and season out was usually considered one of the easiest when it came to the strength of schedule rankings. But in 2022, the tides have shifted in the NFL’s schedule makers as the Patriots ended up with one of the tougher slots of games in the league.
According to the NFL SOS rankings, the Patriots stand at 25th when it comes to easiest schedules for the 2022 season, with only the Bengals, Jets, Texans, Steelers, Raiders, Rams, and Chiefs trailing them for the toughest game calendar. In a season where Belichick and his team will have to deal with the Ravens, Packers, Colts, Cardinals, Raiders, and Bengals, as well as twice with the Bills and Dolphins, saying a prayer for the Pats shouldn’t be out of the question just in case.