Last season was a year of transition for the New England Patriots, who went into 2020 without Tom Brady as their starter for the first time in 20 years.
The result was a 7-9 season for the Patriots, while Brady won his seventh Super Bowl ring with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
New England dealt with some Covid-related complications that kept quarterback Cam Newton from establishing a flow and the offense struggled all season.
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The Patriots went to work this offseason, handing out a lot of big contracts while also drafting a quarterback in the first round. It’s best to not underestimate what Bill Belichick and the Patriots are capable of as we head into 2021.
New England Patriots 2021 Schedule
The breakdown for all NFL teams can be found on BetUS, as we take a look at all things New England Patriots. First, their 2021 schedule:
|Week 1||Sept. 12||vs Miami|
|Week 2||Sept. 19||at New York Jets|
|Week 3||Sept. 26||vs New Orleans|
|Week 4||Oct. 3||vs Tampa Bay|
|Week 5||Oct. 10||at Houston|
|Week 6||Oct. 17||vs Dallas|
|Week 7||Oct. 24||vs New York Jets|
|Week 8||Oct. 31||at Los Angeles Chargers|
|Week 9||Nov. 7||at Carolina|
|Week 10||Nov. 14||vs Cleveland|
|Week 11||Nov. 18||at Atlanta|
|Week 12||Nov. 28||vs Tennessee|
|Week 13||Dec. 6||at Buffalo|
|Week 14||Dec. 12||BYE|
|Week 15||Dec. 19||at Indianapolis|
|Week 16||Dec. 26||vs Buffalo|
|Week 17||Jan. 2||vs Jacksonville|
|Week 18||Jan. 9||at Miami|
As a reminder, the NFL has expanded their regular season to include a 17th game, so the entire regular season is now 18 weeks long.
The headline game for the Patriots will come in Week 4, when Brady makes his return to Foxborough. The Buccaneers are rightfully one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl, making it one of the toughest games on the schedule.
The Patriots do have some tough games, most notably against Cleveland, Tennessee, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Buffalo (twice).
The Bills in particular will be looking to prove that 2020 was the start of a new era of AFC East football. Fresh off a 13-3 season and making improvements, Buffalo will be a tough out in 2021.
You can bet win totals on BetUS for all NFL teams, and the Patriots 2021 season wins is set at over/under 9½ wins.
Games against the Hew York Jets, Jacksonville, Houston and Atlanta should all be wins, but there are a lot of intriguing teams on the Patriots schedule.
New England Patriots News & Picks
New England Patriots 2020 Summary
The Patriots dealt with mediocre quarterback play, a lack of offensive weapons and injuries, culminating in one of their worst seasons this century.
The end result was 7-9.
The Patriots were briefly in the playoff mix, as they clawed their way to 6-6 with four games to go. Unfortunately for New England, it proceeded to lose three straight, putting a pin in any postseason hopes.
In his first season with New England, Cam Newton did not impress in the passing game.
In 15 games, Newton threw for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Newton was used heavily in the running game to better success, totaling 592 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Once longtime receiver Julian Edelman went down with an injury, the weapons in the passing game were non-existent.
Jakobi Meyers led the team in receiving with 729 yards, though he failed to find the end zone.
Second-year running back Damien Harris came on strong toward the end of the season, finishing with 691 yards on 5.0 yards per carry and two touchdowns.
New England Patriots Key Players
The Patriots reworked much of their offense through free agency, which we’ll explore more in a moment.
Most of the expected key contributors are new faces, but the most important returning starter is likely starting quarterback Newton.
Newton struggled in 2020, joining a new system during a shortened offseason. Newton is expected to retain the starting job, though the Patriots did draft Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round.
Newton’s success will be imperative to what New England does.
Harris seems poised for a big season behind what is a strong run-blocking offensive line. Harris was incredibly efficient with the ball in his hands and was graded out as the team’s best offensive player, per Pro Football Focus.
On the defensive side, Stephon Gilmore leads this unit as one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks. There was some speculation that Gilmore was unhappy in New England, but the defensive back has reported to camp and is expected to remain the lockdown corner he has been for years.
Fellow corner J.C. Jackson had a monster 2020 season, finishing with nine interceptions and 14 pass-deflections.
New England Patriots New Additions
The Patriots made a lot of signings in free agency, which is very unlike the franchise. The big additions indicate an awareness of how poor of an offense they had in 2020.
Reinforcements are aplenty, starting at the tight end position. The Patriots signed both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, two of the best tight ends in the NFL. Both are expected to see plenty of action, adding a completely new element to the New England offense.
The team also signed wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, who are expected to start.
Jones was drafted with the No. 15 overall pick, but is expected to sit and wait behind Newton for at least one season.
The Patriots also loaded up on new defensive players, headlined by edge rusher Matt Judon. New England also added defensive back Jalen Mills, brought back linebacker Kyle Van Noy, signed defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and drafted defensive tackle Christian Barmore in the second round.
New England Patriots Key Subtractions
Edelman retired and leaves as one of the franchise’s top receivers. The team lost starting left guard Joe Thuney in free agency and cornerback Jason McCourty.
New England Patriots Divisional Outlook
The Patriots have reworked much of their team and seem bound to be better than their 7-9 record in 2020.
Still, this division isn’t as easy as it once was.
Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills are now one of the NFL’s best teams and don’t seem likely to go away any time soon.
The Miami Dolphins went 10-6 last season and loaded up on receivers to aid in Tua Tagovailoa’s development.
The Patriots feel like the third-best team in the AFC East, but no team knows how to get to the postseason quite like New England.
For the rest of the AFC East and NFL, explore our team pages here.
New England Patriots Offense
When looking at New England’s offensive numbers from 2020, it’s best to take in the numbers with a grain of salt.
You won’t find a team that so drastically changed their roster like the Patriots did with their offense. The entire identity of the team has shifted, especially with the signings of tight ends Smith and Henry.
Last season, the Patriots had the sixth-fewest yards per game and the sixth-fewest points per game.
New England Patriots Defense
Jackson, Gilmore and Jonathan Jones form one of the more menacing cornerback trios in the NFL.
All of the new additions to the defensive line will be critical in getting the defense back to the levels of play to which they are accustomed.
Pro Football Focus had the Patriots ranked as the 19th-overall defense, while Football Outsiders graded New England as the No. 26 defense in the league.
What is the New England Pats' all-time record?
500 wins, 391 losses, and 9 ties
Who owns the New England Patriots?
How many Super Bowls have the New England Patriots won?
6 (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017, 2019)
Who is the quarterback for the New England Patriots?