New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are the current class of the NFL. Nobody can argue that statement after the duo of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady just secured the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl title a season ago by winning and covering an ugly grind fest against the Los Angeles Rams in LIII. In doing so, the franchise tied the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most titles of the Super Bowl era. Though not as decided, the Pats are still the choice of linemakers to once again be the last team standing and secure a record seventh Super Bowl title come the conclusion of the 2019-20 season at online sportsbooks. The defending champs hit the futures market with an expected 11 game season win total; same as last year. The AFC East will be a bit more challenging for the Patriots this season, but oddsmakers still expect them to cruise to the division title installing the hefty -467 favorites.

Entering his 17 th season calling the shots under center for New England, Tom Brady will once again be one of the more heavily targeted quarterbacks by fantasy footballers with the Patriots expected to field yet another explosive attack. The offensive line gave up a grand total of 21 sacks in the regular season a year ago; only the Saints’ and Colts front walls were better at keeping their QB upright. The front wall returns almost completely intact along with added depth. It paved the way to allow New England ball carriers to rank No. 5 rushing the pigskin. Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead are all back and will no doubt be the focal point of Josh McDaniels near impossible to defend offensive attack. Making opposing defenses beg for mercy even more will be Julian Edelman and a pass catching corps that added Demaryius Thomas, Dontrelle Inman and N’Keal Harry in the draft. Don’t look for this unit to skip much of a beat with Rob Gronkowski no longer in the picture.

The strength of this year’s defense will likely reside in the back seven with the McCourty twins, Patrick Chung and Stephon Gilmore all back roaming around the secondary. Off one of his most successful seasons in the NFL, Kyle Van Noy is back to roam the middle of the field along with veteran linebacker Dont’a Hightower. The duo played huge roles in turning the defense’s fortunes around. Looking to do the same, and add a bit to the pass rush will be offseason acquisition Michael Bennett who comes over from Philadelphia after leading the team with 9.0 sacks and forcing a couple of fumbles. One of New England’s biggest issues last season was getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks with the team logging a grand total of 30 which tied the Giants for the second fewest in the league. That’s something the veteran pass rushing extraordinaire will attempt to rectify. If he does, New England’s defense will be drastically improved.

The first half of the Patriots schedule won’t be a walk in the park. It starts off with a stiff challenge in Week 1 against Ben Roethlisberger and the win hungry Pittsburgh Steelers, and ends with a visit from the likely much improved Browns in Week 8. It doesn’t get much easier in the second half with teams like the Ravens, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chiefs all lined up. Even so, the franchise has shown time and time again that it doesn’t matter what the names on the back of jerseys say, it still finds ways to triumph. There will be a time the music dies in New England under “The Hoodie’s” watch, but this doesn’t look to be it.