New England patriots 2019 season preview
2019 was the first time in 10 years that the Patriots they did not play on Divisional Weekend of the Playoffs. That alone highlights just how consistent this team has been this decade.
The team was highly criticised throughout most of the season but they still finished 12-4 and won the AFC East yet again. The defense in the first half of the year was outstanding and statistically one of the best ever. However, with the offense unable to put together consistent drives, the defense tailed off in the second half of the year. That culminated in them being unable to contain Ryan Fitzpatrick and Derrick Henry in their final two games.
On the offense for the first time ever, Tom Brady could not elevate a talent deficient skill core, as he struggled with some of his worst statistics ever in a Patriots uniform. The hope was likely that the offense would click as the season progressed. It did not and the team lost on Wildcard Weekend to the Titans.
Tumultuous does not begin to describe the Patriots offseason. Brady, the greatest player in franchise history and arguably the best QB ever decided he didn’t want to play in New England anymore and will play the 2020 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was assumed, until a few short weeks ago that Jarrett Stidham would be the starting QB and then the Patriots made a move that both shocked the NFL world and was completely expected when they added Cam Newton. With Newton is in Foxborough, business might just be picking up.
The team also lost pieces on defense with Kyle Von Noy, Jamie Collins and Danny Shelton all departing. This season is the first in a long time where expectations in New England are somewhat uncertain and that is probably just how Bill Belichick likes it.
In the interest of full disclosure, this is the second version of this article. The intention was to prepare the article two months ago and make small adjustments leading up this week. Them Cam Newton signed and the whole article went in the bin for a fresh start. What we still know about this offense entering 2020 is:
- A lot of continuity was lost with the departures of both Brady and Dante Scarnecchia
- The lack of talent at the skill postions is really concerning
While the continuity is concerning, if Newton is healthy then he has a real shot to be an upgrade on the Brady we saw in 2019. Yes that is a bold statement, but if you look at the metrics as well as viewing the tape Brady really seemed to regress last year. If Newton plays like he did the last time he was healthy, the offense has a chance to be better next year.
One thing I know for sure is that the offensive playbook they had last year will be very different from the one we see in 2020. For the first time in a long time there should be excitement in looking forward to watching what the Patriots do, without knowing the result in advance as we have over the last decade.
Last season, especially in the first 8 games the Pats defensive unit was elite. A weak opening schedule certainly helped, but the statistics were obscene. Despite a tougher second half, the overall numbers are still extremely impressive.
With the losses on the defensive line the offseason, the scheme will once again be vital to create pressure. However, the outstanding secondary will also give the defensive line a vital extra couple of seconds. Will this unit be as good as last year? Probably not, simply due to sheer regression that normally occurs on defense, but they have a very good chance chance to be a top-five unit and that is just what the Patriots need to give Newton time to settle into the offense.
Before Newton signed, the Bills were the favourites to win the AFC East in my mind, something that was unthinkabe as recently as last season. Luckily, Newton is now in New England and now I won’t look stupid when the Patriots win this division all over again. Another division title and another 10 win plus season should soften the blow of losing Brady.
New England Patriots 2020 record prediction
A former UKEndzone writer, Paul has been dragged out of an enforced retirement to give his thoughts on the NFL and anything else he can slide past the editorial team.
Paul is most famous (infamous?) as Mainz one half of Waxing Lyrical. alongside his Partner in Crime Neil Dutts Dutton.
Find him @Mainzey7 where all manner of sports are on the menu.
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