With the NFL season kicking off in just under two weeks, there is still a ton of uncertainty throughout the entire league. From teams without names and a pandemic ready to halt the season at any moment, this season is set to be unlike any other. One thing that makes this season unlike any in recent memory is the change of quarterback in New England. For the first time in 19 years, a quarterback not named Tom Brady will be under center for the Patriots, with 2015 MVP Cam Newton likely taking over the reins. This changing of the guard and the numerous players opting out of this season will provide no guarantee that the Patriots even make the playoffs, let alone win the AFC East. With this prediction of the Patriots 2020 record, it will surely be a battle for the top spot.
If the NFL is able to play out this season as scheduled, here is how I figure 2020 playing out for the Patriots. The schedule is as followed:
Week One: Dolphins @ Patriots
The Dolphins overachieved last year, despite starting 0-7, under first-year coach Brian Flores. Flores is likely to carry this success into his second year, with Tua Tagovailoa and defensive additions Kyle Van Noy and Byron Jones. I still don’t anticipate the Dolphins beating the Patriots in Week One, especially in what would be Newton’s first game. Patriots 27 Dolphins 14
Week Two: Patriots @ Seahawks
If there is any consolation to having no fans in attendance, it comes in Week Two in the Super Bowl XLIX rematch against the Seahawks. CenturyLink Field his historically one of the hardest stadiums to play in, constantly setting noise records during games. The Patriots will dodge a bullet in that sense, but I doubt the lack of fans will be much of a difference in this game. Russell Wilson’s athleticism will prove to be too much for the Patriots’ young linebacker core with his ability to get out of the pocket and stretch plays. Seahawks 31 Patriots 24
Week Three: Raiders @ Patriots
The Raiders have added a lot of athleticism this offseason with the additions of Marcus Mariota, Henry Ruggs III, and Lynn Bowden Jr to their offense. However, the Raiders have one of the lowest ranked defenses in football and Bill Belichick will look to take advantage of that. Ultimately, the Patriots should make easy work of Vegas’ new team. Patriots 35 Raiders 20
Week Four: Patriots @ Chiefs
This is another game in which the Patriots benefit from the lowered fan attendance. The Chiefs are currently set to have 22% fan capacity at Arrowhead Stadium when the season opens, though that is subject to change. Much like with the Seahawks, I don’t see the fans making much of a difference in the outcome of the game. The offense of the defending champs is simply too dominant, with Patrick Mahomes set to lead them for the next 12 years after his massive extension. The Chiefs highly rated pass defense will also keep the Patriots in check as the Patriots running back group continue to return to health. Chiefs 41 Patriots 28
Week Five: Broncos @ Patriots
The Broncos showed a lot of promise at the end of last season, finishing 4-1 after Drew Lock took over as quarterback. Like the Raiders, the Broncos got an offensive boost with the signing of Melvin Gordon III and the drafting of Jerry Jeudy. The Denver defense, lead by Von Miller, is good on paper but are average statistically. I can see this game being a back and forth, with the Patriots pulling ahead late. Patriots 28 Broncos 20
Week Six: BYE
Week Seven: 49ers @ Patriots
Jimmy G’s return to Foxboro. The ex-heir to Tom Brady finally gets to show the Patriots why, in his eyes, they shouldn’t have traded him. Garappolo and the Niners are fresh off a Super Bowl appearance and hoping to repeat as NFC champions. This task will be even more difficult with the departures of DeForest Buckner, Joe Staley, and Emmanuel Sanders. I think this game will be a defensive battle with the Niners edging out the Patriots and Jimmy G getting his revenge. 49ers 21 Patriots 17
Week Eight: Patriots @ Bills
The biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC East looks a little different this year after the additions of Stefon Diggs and Josh Norman. Although Norman is not the player he once was with the Panthers, he is still a good complement to Tre’Davious White in the Bills’ defensive backfield. I see the Bills taking the first of the two matchups between these teams, with the Patriots dominance in Buffalo coming to an end. Bills 30 Patriots 21
Week Nine: Patriots @ Jets
While the Bills and the Dolphins continue to improve and get stronger, the same can’t be said about the Jets. After shipping out their best player in Jamal Adams, the Jets will likely struggle on the defensive end. The Patriots could and should make easy work of the Jets at the Meadowlands. Patriots 41 Jets 20
Week Ten: Ravens @ Patriots
In another matchup of two of the top defenses, it is the offense of the Baltimore Ravens that will prove to be a problem against the stellar Patriots defense. Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, along with Mark Ingram and Hollywood Brown, will be giving the Patriots fits for years to come. It will be a tough task for the Patriots to keep them in check. Ravens 35 Patriots 24
Week Eleven: Patriots @ Texans
Week 11 will mark the second week in a row against a mobile quarterback that has given the Patriots a hard time in the past. Deshaun Watson put on a show against the Patriots last season, throwing for three touchdowns and even catching a touchdown. However, without his former #1 option in DeAndre Hopkins, I don’t think Watson will have as good of a season as he did a year ago. Patriots 28 Texans 27
Week Twelve: Cardinals @ Patriots
Another week, another mobile quarterback. Second year quarterback Kyler Murray is primed to have a breakout season with the Cardinals with Hopkins joining the receiving core. Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald make for a tough task for the Patriots secondary, but not one that I see them stepping down from. Belichick has historically done well against young quarterbacks, and I don’t see that changing with Murray. Patriots 23 Cardinals 10
Week Thirteen: Patriots @ Chargers
In the Patriots first trip to brand new SoFi Stadium, they face off against the Chargers, who are used to having no fans in attendance. There isn’t a lot to love about this Chargers team except DE Joey Bosa and their talented receiving core. Whether it is Tyrod Taylor or rookie Justin Herbert under center for the Chargers, the Patriots should make easy work of the Bolts. Patriots 35 Chargers 20
Week Fourteen: Patriots @ Rams
In this Super Bowl LIII rematch, the Patriots may have the rare advantage of being the away team on a Thursday night. While the Patriots will likely stay in Los Angeles following their game against the Chargers, the Rams will be traveling from Arizona, giving them less time to prepare. Belichick and the Patriots will undoubtedly take advantage of this scheduling and hold off the Rams in another defensive battle. Patriots 17 Rams 13
Week Fifteen: Patriots @ Dolphins
In what is usually a trap game for the Patriots towards the end of the season is now a game in which they may need to make the playoffs. Brian Flores will have his team up for this game and the Patriots will suffer their ever-frustrating late season loss to the Dolphins once again. Dolphins 27 Patriots 23
Week Sixteen: Bills @ Patriots
Following the loss to the Dolphins, the Patriots get a much-needed win against the Bills, whom they will be vying for the top spot in the AFC East. In another defensive battle, the Patriots take control late and all but lock up the division title. Patriots 20 Bills 13
Week Seventeen: Jets @ Patriots
Not much that needs to be said about this one. The Patriots will be playing for a higher seed in the playoffs and the Jets will be looking to start their offseason vacation. The Patriots avoid the loss in another trap game. Patriots 31 Jets 14.
PATRIOTS 2020 RECORD: 10-6 (1st place in AFC East)
Let me know how you think the Patriots season will go in the comments.
Photo: (CLNS Media)
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