Hoping I’m not jinxing this (*knocks on wood*), but there’s been lots of talk on whether this “super team” can go undefeated this regular season; even in the postseason as well.
For now we’ll analysis the opponents the Patriots have to face this regular season and predict whether the Patriots can in fact go undefeated.
9/7 (Week 1): Kansas City Chiefs:
Many wanted the Falcons to be the season opener, but the NFL quickly shut that down; seeing how last year was a rematch between the last two Super Bowl teams (Carolina and Denver). The Chiefs had a good season last year; led by QB Alex Smith and what some considered a top 10 defense. Though they may seem “dangerous” they’re really not; starting with QB Alex Smith, who threw for 3,500 passing yards last season, threw 15 TDs, 8 INTs, and had a passer rating of 91.2. Overall he was ranked 22nd in the league as a QB. Brady, who only played 12 games, had better stats than Smith; 3,550 passing yards, 28 TDs, 2 INTs, and a passer rating of 112.2. Aside from Smith, he has a core of receivers; rookie breakout Hill and Kelce. For the most part their run game is below average; with Spencer Ware leading the way. Moving from offense to defense; they were ranked 24th overall, so they do have a “OK” defense. With Eric Berry and Marcus Peters, it’s a secondary that begs to throw it their way. A big lose from that defense was DT Poe, who went to the Falcons.
The Patriots seemingly never lose at home, and a Chiefs team that doesn’t have a QB that is considered “elite”, the Patriots shouldn’t have a problem opening up the season.
Patriots: 34-21 (1-0)
9/17 (Week 2): @ New Orleans Saints
Over the last several years, they’ve been known to have a top tier offense. It doesn’t seem to matter who they have as a wide receiver, or tight end, or running back. If they have Drew Brees, then that offense will do just fine. Brees was the #1 ranked QB in the NFL (yes even ahead of MVP Matt Ryan), throwing for 5,200 passing yards, 37 TDs, 15 INTs, and a passer rating of 101.7. He has always been like this, and his arm only seems to get stronger and stronger every year. Though they don’t have Cooks on that offense, they still have Michael Thomas and Willie Snead to catch the ball. With the addition of Adrian Peterson, the run game may improve too. The defense, on the other hand, is a train wreck. Ranked 27th in the league, they gave up roughly 375 yards a game and gave up 454 points that year. They’ve been like that for years now, and with no “defensive stars” on that roster, it won’t get any better.
This will be a offensive battle between two great QBs; but because the Patriots defense is far better than the Saints, gotta give the Patriots the edge in this one.
Patriots: 40-21 (2-0)
9/24 (Week 3): Houston Texans
Had Tony Romo not retired and went to the Texans, I would say this would be a great game to watch. Instead, Tom Savage or Deshawn Watson will start at QB and that doesn’t seem like a match-up at all. The only thing that seems to matter for the Texans is their #1 ranked defense. With JJ Watt coming back into the lineup, that D-line will be the biggest test for the Patriots this season. They gave up 301 yard per game, giving up 20 points per game, and through the whole year only gave up 950 points (the fewest in the league). However, A.J Boyue has left that secondary; so they are weak there.
If the Texans QB situation continues this far, I see this game as a blowout; the Texans defense doesn’t make a difference.
Patriots: 38-6 (3-0)
10/1 (Week 4): Carolina Panthers
After a disappointing season after being a Super Bowl team a year ago, the Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton hope to have a bounce back year. 2015 MVP Cam Newton didn’t even come close to repeating his MVP season the following year; 3,500 passing yard, 19 TDs, 14 INTs, and a passer rating of 75.8. Even with WR Kelvin Benjamin back in the lineup, that offense looked lost. Greg Olsen is a player the Patriots must focus on; being Newtons top target. Their problem is that they didn’t have a running game last year; Jonathan Stewart couldn’t stay healthy, but hopefully with the addition of McCathery the run game will improve. The defense was a disaster last year; ranked 21st in the league, giving up 360 yards per game, teams averaging 25 points a game against them, and giving up 402 points that season. Ever since Josh Norman left that team, that secondary has been dreadful.
This could be interesting if Cam Newton clicks on all cylinders; but seeing how he performed last season, the Patriots continue their dominance.
Patriots: 28-13 (4-0)
10/5 (Week 5): @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Short week for the Patriots, this game will test our defense, and I mean really test it. Winston threw for 4,090 yards, 28 TDs, 18 INTs, and a passer rating of 86.1. His top 2 receivers; Mike Evans and Desean Jackson; both had 1,000 yard receiving seasons last year. Not to mention the addition of OJ Howard at tight end; could be very dangerous depending how they use him. Though they don’t have a good RB, they will have Doug Martin back in this match-up. The defense could be the factor in this one; ranked 23rd in the league, giving up 367 yards per game, and allowing 23.1 points a game. If anything Brady will need to keep up with Winston.
This will be a close game; Thursday Night game and two excellent offenses. I see the Patriots squeezing a win in that game.
Patriots: 28-24 (5-0)
10/15 (Week 6): @ New York Jets
Let’s just put it this way; the Jets couldn’t win if Julian Edelman is our quarterback. With Josh McCown as their starting QB, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. Basically no wide receivers, no good RBs, and no TEs; our practice squad is probably better than their starters. The defense is no different either; other than the addition of Adams from the draft, that defense won’t stand a chance against Brady and company.
Brady may set a NFL record in some category here, but garbage time will get the Jets on the board some how.
Patriots: 49-7 (6-0)
10/22 (Week 7): Atlanta Falcons
The Super Bowl rematch. Revenge or Glory. MVP vs Super Bowl MVP. 28-3 lead blown. More than likely game of the year, this game will be a fun one to watch. This matchup may be different though; with the addition of Cooks and Allen on offense and Ealy and Gilmore on defense, the Falcons may have to change their game plan this time. Also with Gronk back (if he makes it this far), the Falcons defense will have a tough time covering everyone. The matchup to focus in on is Gilmore vs Jones; also worth mentioning Butler vs Gabrial as well. This will ulimately come down to Atlanta’s wideouts vs Patriots corners; just like in the Super Bowl.
Had the Patriots not added so many stars to this team, I’d give the Falcons the edge because of Atlanta’s wideouts. But seeing how this isn’t the case, the Patriots win in OT again.
Patriots: 28-21 OT (7-0)
10/29 (Week 8): LA Chargers
New look, new name, same Chargers. Phillip Rivers is good, just on the wrong team. He threw for over 4,300 yards, 33 TDs and 21 INTs with a passer rating of 87.9 last season. With Keenan Allen coming back and assuming he stays healthy, he’ll be a threat along with RB Melvin Gordon. The defense could be consider average; giving up almost 350 yards a game. Not a terrible team if we’re being honest here; they just could never close out games and stay healthy.
They’ll give us a fight, but I see this as a 2 score victory.
Patriots: 31-21 (8-0)
11/12 (Week 9): @ Denver Broncos
Fresh off a bye week, the Patriots will go up to Denver and face their “rival”. Last season I expected to be more scoring by the Patriots because I thought the Denver’s offense would just go 3-and-out every possesion. But it ended up 16-3, so sort of a blowout; just a defensive battle. This year Denver hasn’t changed much; new head coach and new defensive coordinator are really the most notable. Also the QB situation there in Denver will be interesting to watch as well; as to who will be starting once the Patriots roll in.
With the change in elevation (which effects players just so everyone knows), I don’t see much scoring by either team this time around too. Patriots get this one seeing how their defense will hold down whoever is the starting QB for Denver.
Patriots: 14-6 (9-0)
11/19 (Week 10) @ Oakland Raiders (Mexico Game)
International game as the Patriots will face the Raiders in Mexico City. Pretty much neutral field, the Raiders offense will cause many problems. Starting with Derek Carr who threw for almost 4,000 yards, 28 TDs and 6 INTs with a passer rating of 96.7. This dude is the real deal. With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree as wideouts, both are very dangerous wide receiver if left on one-on-one. They also managed to sign Jared Cook this season; filling in that TE spot they desperately needed. And of course it goes without saying that they got “Beast Mode” himself to come out of retirement and play for them; Marshawn Lynch is now the RB for that team with the 2nd best O-line in the league (behind Dallas of course). The defense, however, may be the deciding factor in this game. Starting with Khali Mack, argueably one of the best pass rushers in the game, leads a very good D-line. But here’s when it gets interesting; the Raiders defense was ranked 26th in defense thanks to their dreadful secondary. Giving up 375 yards per game; 6.1 per down (worst in the NFL).
In the end, this will be a offensive battle, both very good QBs, wide receivers, TEs, and running backs. This is a sort of game where the Patriots seemed prepared, but then a bizarre play/screw up will happen during the final minutes. I think Oakland with Lynch in the backfield and having the 2nd best O-line in the league, that they’ll pound the ball all over us. Also seeing how they have Cooper and Crabtree at Carr’s side, it will be very difficult for Gilmore and Butler to handle. Along with Cook as well, you’ll need either a very good cover linebacker or a big physical safety to cover him.
I see this as a close loss because of the weapons Oakland has and how it compares to the Patriots defense.
Oakland: 34-31 (Patriots (9-1))
11/26 (Week 11): Miami Dolphins
We’ve all heard Jarvis Landry saying how the Dolphins will sweep us in the regular season. That will be tough to do given the recent history over the years between these two teams. Last season the Dolphins didn’t seem like a threat in the first half of the season; it wasn’t till the second half of the season when they got hot and managed to sneak into the playoffs. Tannehill was playing great football during that second half streak; though an ACL injury took him out for the season hurt the Dolphins in the QB position. The talk, though, was RB Jay Ajayi; young power back who rushed back-to-back 200+ rushing yard games. The defense was absolutely terrible last season; 29th overall ranked defense with a terrible secondary and no pass rush whatsoever. Even with Cameron Wake and Suh on the front line.
Needless to say if that defense is still like that (which it will), Brady will have a field day on that defense.
Patriots: 34-17 (10-1)
12/3 (Week 12): @ Buffalo Bills
No more Rex Ryan, he’s been replaced. We don’t know how good this defense will be; with new head coach Sean McDermott, who previously was defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. QB is still the same; Tyrod Taylor playing for his job basically this season, along with wide-reciever Sammy Watkins whose 5th year option was not picked up. The Bills defense will be different now without Stephon Gilmore on the other side.
Always a tough environment to play in, but if players are healthy and Brady is still the QB, should be a manageable win.
Patriots: 28-14 (11-1)
12/11 (Week 13): @ Miami Dolphins
Thank the lord that this game isn’t the last game of the season; a game that won’t decide our fate for the #1 seed. It’s good that we get this game early on before the season ends; because for some strange reason Brady hates playing in Miami. Absolutely hates playing there. But nonetheless it’s a rematch and I don’t see much changing regardless.
Patriots: 38-21 (12-1)
12/17 (Week 14): @ Pittsburgh Steelers
It’s hard to predict this game, and I’ll tell you why. Is Big Ben going to play this game? Is LeVeon Bell going to be healthy/not suspended? Is Antonio Brown gonna have another concussion because a free safety took his head off? 1/3 or 2/3 things I just mention may happen. We have not faced a healthy “Steeler Big 3” since they became a thing. Even in the AFC Championship, Bell left the game with a groin injury early on in the 1st quarter. If they were to all play in this game completely healthy, I still give the Patriots the edge. Reason being is because the Steelers secondary becomes a high school JV team when Brady throws the ball. They played zone coverage against him in the AFC title game and Brady made Chris Hogan the next Jerry Rice in that game. Not even the Big 3 can stop Brady and company.
Because of the Steelers offense, it can be a close game. But because the matchup between Brady and the Steelers defense, Patriots win.
Patriots: 27-20 (13-1)
12/24 (Week 15): Buffalo Bills
Nothing really changes here; the Bills have only won twice here in Foxboro since Brady and Belichick took over. Both those games Brady didn’t play (their 1st win was when Brady played first half, 2nd win Brady was suspended). Unless they have Jim Kelly come in and play QB, mark it down as another win.
Patriots: 30-13 (14-1)
12/31 (Week 16): New York Jets
This article is about finished, not even going to go into this. It’s the Jets, nothing changes.
Patriots: 50-0 (15-1)
Could they go 16-0? I mean any team could, but things happen; players get hurt, players make mistakes, or the other team is just better/well prepared. To be honest I hate the whole talk of “an undefeated season”; we all know what happened in 2007, 18-1 because of David Tyree. That’s not to say I would love to go 19-0 and shove it in everyone’s face; just puts a ton of pressure on the players to fulfill that. Rather have us win another ring and to shut up the annoying Steelers fans who gloat about having six championships.
Every year the goal is to win a championship, it’s never to go undefeated. Belichick does a good job making that clear; win games, play your heart out, and win another Super Bowl. Only reason it’s getting talked about is because of the additions we’ve made over the off-season. Sure the media will try to make a story out of it; but at the end of the day, Patriots fan just want to start filling the rings on the other hand. At least, that’s what should be the goal…right?