2022 NFL season preview: Preview, prediction for each Patriots sport

September 2, 2022

It is simple from the place we sit, is not it? We are able to generate predictions of all sorts on a weekly (each day? hourly?) foundation if we need to. The web area is there. Who’re we to not attempt to fill it?

We have performed what really feel like dozens of variations of 53-man roster predictions. We have assembled seven-round mock drafts like they’re journal entries. Now — to steal a line — we’re on to the common season.

I predicted for a lot of the offseason that the Patriots ought to be a 10-win staff in 2022. Even with out Josh McDaniels. Even with out JC Jackson. They’d sufficient expertise, I argued, to a minimum of repeat their 2021 outcomes. They’d the pinnacle coach and quarterback to do it.

Double-digit wins. Playoff look. Why not?

 Subsequent Pats Podcast: Why the Patriots are about to let Mac Jones COOK | Hear & Observe | Watch on YouTube

Nicely … There may be new data accessible to us: a messy coaching camp and preseason, the understanding that the Patriots are operating a brand new offense, that they are using a brand new language as nicely, that Matt Patricia is the obvious play-caller. Should not that 10-win prediction change?

Perhaps. However will it if we undergo the schedule and predict the outcomes, sport by sport? We have the web area to seek out out. It would be impolite to not.

 

Week 1: Patriots at Dolphins

Finally, Mike McDaniel will not be the coach Brian Flores was. However he’ll have the Dolphins wanting quick and taking part in free to start out this season. Whereas Invoice Belichick’s protection has gotten faster, they will have their points making an attempt to run with Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill in man or zone coverages. Offensively, the Patriots will at instances look higher with Mac Jones calling the pictures on the line. However he isn’t the issue. Jones’ safety will wrestle with Miami defensive coordinator Josh Boyer’s many blitz seems to be, and their potential to maintain drives shall be examined early. — Dolphins 24, Patriots 17

Week 2: Patriots at Steelers

That is one week on the schedule the place the Patriots will be capable to win with their protection. They might not have the man-for-man expertise within the secondary to match up with receivers Dionte Johnson, George Pickens or Chase Claypool. However they’ve the versatile items — notably at security — to deceive Mitch Trubisky into wanting like a profession backup. The Patriots offense will expertise its justifiable share of bumps within the street in opposition to TJ Watt and Co., however Steelers followers could also be clamoring for rookie first-round choose Kenny Pickett quickly after this one. — Patriots 16, Steelers 14

Week 3: Ravens at Patriots

Baltimore is an efficient candidate to enter the season as an underrated AFC contender, however odds are they will depart 2022 thought-about one of many higher groups within the convention. Their protection, decimated by damage final season, has a brand new coordinator in Mike Macdonald who ought to breathe new life into what grew to become a blitz-blitz-and-blitz-some-more scheme underneath Wink Martindale. Their offense options an improved line — led by newly wholesome All-Professional sort out Ronnie Stanley — that ought to assist make Lamar Jackson and his operating backs much more potent than they’ve been in earlier years. With Jackson wholesome to start out the season, this can be a robust matchup for New England’s residence opener. — Ravens 27, Patriots 20

Week 4: Patriots at Packers

Main into this one, with the Patriots averaging underneath 20 factors per sport by means of three weeks, questions may very well be getting louder as to who ought to be calling performs for the Patriots offense. However the Patriots started the 2021 marketing campaign slowly, and so Belichick and his workers will proceed to evangelise endurance. Nonetheless, endurance out and in of the locker room may very well be laborious to return by after a tough displaying in opposition to probably the greatest defenses within the league. Sitting at 1-3 with an offense that ranks within the backside third of the NFL, the Patriots should flip issues round shortly to remain afloat. — Packers 24, Patriots 13

Week 5: Lions at Patriots

Even with the Patriots scuffling, all of the Dan Campbell “GRIT” hats on the planet could not get Detroit fired up sufficient to barge into Gillette Stadium and dip into the win column with Jared Goff on the helm. May this be the spot — if Belichick ever had been to do it — when the pinnacle coach would additionally begin to double as offensive play-caller? We assume Matt Patricia shall be calling performs Week 1, as he has for nearly the whole thing of the summer season. However Belichick has stated previously that as a result of he is the pinnacle coach the buck stops with him. Can be fascinating to see if he’d ever tackle the in-game function of relaying performs into Jones’ helmet. Patricia has sufficient on his plate together with his offensive line teaching duties alone. — Patriots 30, Lions 20

 

Week 6: Patriots at Browns

On the again of 4 subject targets from previous dependable Nick People, and thanks largely to a late interception from previous pal Jacoby Brissett, the Patriots march into Cleveland to grab a fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory from the jaws of defeat. This was one sport many predicted could be a Patriots loss previous to the Deshaun Watson suspension. However with the “W,” Belichick’s membership is all of the sudden again to .500 in mid-October. He stated earlier this week that it could take six or seven weeks to actually discover out what his staff is all about. Is that this the sport that sways him (and their fan base) come what may? — Patriots 26, Browns 24

Week 7: Bears at Patriots

This defensive scheme — organized by Bears head coach and former Indy defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus — was one which flummoxed the Patriots late final season. Chicago does not have the personnel the Colts did, although, and Jones’ wideouts shouldn’t have any bother in opposition to this rebuilding secondary. Justin Fields might pose the Patriots issues if Matt Judon and Deatrich Sensible do not maintain him “within the nicely” behind middle and permit him to scramble. However with a disciplined method on that facet of the ball, this might shortly flip right into a bore. The Patriots have a talent-laden schedule this 12 months. However the Bears are a little bit of a respite in that regard. — Patriots 34, Bears 13

Week 8: Patriots at Jets

The Patriots are rolling at this level, and as they’re, they could achieve this with a scheme that appears not like the one they hammered by means of coaching camp. That is one thing I am personally nonetheless torn on: Will Belichick keep on with the wide-zone operating sport — and all that he might construct off of it by way of play-action passes — or will not he? There is a motive he is gone on this path. It is labored at quite a lot of locales across the league. It struggled by means of the summer season in Foxboro, nonetheless, each in practices and preseason video games. But the Patriots have not at all times given these performs the perfect probability at success since Jones’ potential to audible on the line has been restricted.

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Now that the reins shall be off their quarterback, now that he’ll have extra freedom to regulate pre-snap, will broad zone all of the sudden look higher? I am unsure. But when I needed to guess, Belichick could have moved on by this level within the 12 months. His personnel up entrance is not completely suited to the Shanahan-style ideas that he and others across the league so roundly respect. If that results in detrimental runs, which I have been advised he has no endurance for, then he’ll transfer on. If the Patriots can gash the Jets — who favor the Shanahan scheme themselves — with runs the day earlier than Halloween, these runs shall be of the hole selection. That is my guess. — Patriots 28, Jets 21

 

Week 9: Colts at Patriots

This was the matchup that began to nudge the wheels off the Patriots’ axles a 12 months in the past. And whereas quarterback Matt Ryan represents an improve over what Indy handled on the place in 2021, there’s motive to imagine this 12 months issues will go in another way. First, this one is at residence for Belichick’s membership. Second, with Eberflus out, Gus Bradley is now in as Colts defensive coordinator. The Patriots have had the solutions to his defenses for years. These checks, after all, had been aced by Tom Brady. However Bradley is a do-what-I-do sort of coach, and Jones ought to be capable to dissect it. Mix that with what seems to be like an underwhelming Colts offense at essential positions — sort out and receiver, specifically — and this could go down as win No. 6. — Patriots 27, Colts 24

Week 11: Jets at Patriots

Issues are beginning to bitter on Robert Saleh in Jersey by this level on this season. Zach Wilson has been banged up and hasn’t progressed because the Jets would love. Saleh’s protection — which caught fireplace in San Francisco due to a dominant line and single-high security seems to be — has tried to adapt with a less-talented entrance. The outcomes aren’t there. First-round Jets nook Sauce Gardner could rip away a 50-50 ball from DeVante Parker on this one, however Wilson stays liable to back-breaking picks, and within the fourth quarter Devin McCourty camps underneath a Wilson providing like an outfielder to simply seal a 7-3 document for the fresh-off-a-bye Patriots. — Patriots 33, Jets 20

Week 12: Patriots at Vikings

This looks like a swing sport for the Patriots. Even with them driving excessive on a six-game successful streak, as a result of the ultimate stretch of their season is such a problem, if they do not get this one in Minneapolis on Thanksgiving, it may very well be the distinction between making the postseason and never. The Patriots have the sting at head coach, with Belichick going up in opposition to former third-round choose and Brady backup Kevin O’Connell — taken in the identical 2008 draft class as Jerod Mayo and Matthew Slater — however there is a mismatch within the secondary that does them in. With out a actual reply for do-it-all wideout Justin Jefferson, the Patriots cannot get the fourth-quarter cease they want and head residence for a short post-holiday break with a foul style of their mouths. — Vikings 28, Patriots 27

Week 13: Payments at Patriots

Even with a couple of further days to arrange, Josh Allen continues to be Josh Allen. Stefon Diggs continues to be Stefon Diggs. And Diggs’ operating mate Gabriel Davis, by this level within the season, could have Buffalo wanting like they’ve a 1 and 1a at wideout. It is an excessive amount of offensive firepower for the Patriots to maintain up with, and so they head out to the West Coast for back-to-back video games with a document of 7-5. They’re in the midst of a two-game slide, however “The Path” to the postseason continues to be very a lot alive. — Payments 30, Patriots 23

 

Week 14: Patriots at Cardinals

Within the second matchup of the season between Belichick and considered one of his former backup quarterbacks, the Patriots put collectively considered one of their higher offensive performances of the 12 months in opposition to a protection coached by Vance Joseph that ranked eleventh within the NFL in factors allowed in 2021. Kendrick Bourne has had a rocky summer season, however in opposition to a staff that’s trying to find nook assist — they only traded for Trayvon Mullen, a disappointing 2019 second-rounder of the Raiders — he goes off and the Patriots are again within the win column. — Patriots 30, Cardinals 28

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Week 15: Patriots at Raiders

That is an fascinating one to attempt to undertaking after these two groups practiced in opposition to each other to complete off coaching camp. The Patriots felt good about joint session No. 2 however then acknowledged their dud within the preseason finale. The Raiders and Patriots each took a reasonably “vanilla” method to the week of labor, realizing that they’d see each other in a couple of months. Whereas Vegas has offensive line points that McDaniels should work round for what seems to be just like the length of the season, his expertise on the talent positions shall be sufficient to take the win on this coaching-staff reunion. — Raiders 30, Patriots 24

Week 16: Bengals at Patriots

Here is your headline: Joe Burrow spoils Christmas Eve in Foxboro. Taking part in behind former Patriots utility lineman and present Bengals middle Ted Karras, Belichick’s protection will not be capable to trouble Cincy’s quarterback the best way they’d like. And with sufficient time to function behind middle, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins give the New England secondary suits. Cannot double ’em all. — Bengals 31, Patriots 28

Week 17: Dolphins at Patriots

Within the components at Gillette Stadium, and underneath a coach who could present indicators of slowing down by season’s finish, the Dolphins offense shall be caught on this New Yr’s Day divisional showdown. It seems to be like a get-back-on-track sport for the Patriots protection — whose chief Jerod Mayo shall be getting head-coaching buzz but once more round this time — however they face a season-finale in opposition to an offensive juggernaut that may decide whether or not or not their season will proceed deeper into January. — Patriots 17, Dolphins 13

Week 18: Patriots at Payments

Although the time on this one hasn’t but been set, rely on it being in prime time. With the Patriots sitting on 9 wins, they want to enter the place the place their season ended one 12 months earlier and win to be able to make the postseason. Jones has stored an image of his staff’s Wild Card spherical loss in his locker as a reminder, and he’ll play nicely. However this one will come right down to the protection that could not get a cease in both of their remaining two conferences with Buffalo final season. The Patriots might catch a break if the Payments have already got the No. 1 seed locked up by this time. But when they’ve one thing to play for, this may very well be the top of the street for the 2022 Patriots. — Payments 34, Patriots 27

 

Closing document: 9-8

The Patriots are set as much as spend large for the second time in three years through the 2023 offseason. They’ve 40 gamers underneath contract, based on Over the Cap, and about $60 million in accessible cap area. Additionally they haven’t any ensures as a consequence of contracted gamers like Matt Judon, Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, Jalen Mills, DeVante Parker, Devin McCourty, Trent Brown, Lawrence Man, Deatrich Sensible and David Andrews.

Whereas they will need to maintain loads of these gamers round, they will have flexibility to make one other offseason free-agency push. They’re going to need to encompass Jones with as a lot expertise as potential in the event that they need to get a soar on his analysis earlier than giving him an extension. After 12 months No. 3 is usually when the league’s greatest passers get locked up. Yr No. 3 for Jones may even be the 12 months when Robert Kraft ratchets up the urgency to not solely make the postseason however win a playoff sport.

He expressed some frustration earlier this offseason that it’s been too lengthy since his staff has marched deep into January. That definitely gained’t go away if the Patriots miss the postseason solely in 2022.