9 April 2018


Last season was more of the same for the Patriots, but with one new wrinkle. As always, the Patriots cruised to the AFC East title, went deep into the playoffs, and then made it to the Super Bowl. After all, that is what everyone expected from the dynasty that won’t die. What no one expected, however, was a bit of drama. An ESPN article took us behind the scenes and showed us some tension between the game’s greatest coach and the game’s greatest owner. We wondered if this would be the silver bullet that would finally end the Patriots. Bizarre Super Bowl decisions and a loss only fueled that speculation. As things stand now, the status quo remains the same. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are still together, and the Patriots are once again the class of the conference. But if there’s one thing last year taught us, it’s that not even the Patriots will last forever. The cracks shown in the armor look like their run is creeping up on its end.

The Ageless One: Brady will be 41 going into the 2018 season, and one has to wonder how much longer he can avoid father time. And this season, he will have a large load to carry. Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, and Dion Lewis are gone. Julian Edelman will have to sit out four games due to a PED suspension. Also, the offensive line has been overhauled. The Patriots offense will rely on Chris Hogan, Jordan Matthews, and Malcolm Mitchell for production in the passing game. Rookie Sony Michel will be tasked with running the ball for the team. It’ll be interesting to see how Brady is able to handle the new and old pieces along with the rigors of a 16 game regular season.

Key Additions: Jeremy Hill, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jordan Mathews, Matt Tobin, Danny Shelton, Jason McCourty, Adrian Clayborn, and Trent Brown.

Zero Contingency: And if Brady doesn’t hold up over the season, the Patriots don’t have much of a contingency plan as a result of last season’s drama. Allegedly, Coach Belichick was grooming then back up Jimmy Garoppolo to take over once the 2017 season was over. Brady caught wind of this and went over Belichick’s head and Garoppolo was traded away. Whether that story is true or not doesn’t even matter anymore for the Patriots. What does matter is that they’re one injury or retirement announcement away from falling off of a cliff.

Stop Unit: The Patriots ‘bend but don’t break’ defense had a few leaks last season. During the first quarter of the season, teams were able to throw the ball all over the Patriots. After feeding on teams with average at best passing attacks, the numbers began to improve. But in the end, the defense was exposed again in the Super Bowl. Brian Flores will be taking over as defensive coordinator and the Patriots have healthy starters like Dont’a Hightower. New faces like Adrian Clayborn and Danny Shelton were brought in to strengthen the defensive front. Jason McCourty will come in and try to fill the hole left by Malcolm Butler. So expect the stop unit to get back to playing the Patriots style.

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