2017 NFL Preseason Outlooks: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (AFC East)
2016 Record: 14-2 (5-1 in Division)
KEY ADDITIONS: WR Brandin Cooks, CB Stephon Gilmore, RB Mike Gillislee, DE Kony Ealy, TE Dwayne Allen, RB Rex Burkhead, DE Lawrence Guy
KEY DEPARTURES : RB LaGarrette Blount, LB Rob Ninkovich, DE Chris Long, CB Logan Ryan, TE Martellus Bennett
2016 SEASON RECAP
Starting the 2016 season with Future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady serving a four game suspension for his alleged part in the “deflate-gate” scandal. The New England Patriots looked to their back up quarterbacks to tread water until week 5. Jimmy Garoppolo was phenomenal in 2 starts going 2-0, throwing for 502 yards, 4 TDS and 0 Turnovers. An injury would sideline Garoppolo at which point New England Patriots would rely on third string QB Jacoby Brissett who would lead New England to a 27-0 road win over the Houston Texans. The Patriots would go 3-1 without Tom Brady at the helm.
Brady was on fire right from the jump upon his return. In just 12 games played, Tom Brady threw for 3,554 yards, 28 TDS, 2 INT’s and posted an 11-1 record. The Backup Quarterbacks deserve their share of the credit but New England really should thank Blount and his phenomenal run attack. In the 4 games Brady was out, Blount ran for 352 yards and scored 4 TD’s. LaGarrette Blount had career bests in 2016 as he rushed for 1,161 yards and scoring 18 TD’s.
The Patriots would finish the regular season 14-2 and storm their way into the Super Bowl to face off against the high-octane offense minded Atlanta Falcons. The Patriots found themselves trailing 28-3 late in the the 3rd quarter before they mounted possibly the greatest comeback in sports history beating the Falcons 34-28 in Overtime.
2017 SEASON PREVIEW
If you thought the Patriots last year were good, just wait until this team hits the field in 2017. New England has been extremely busy in the off-season. Beefing up on the defensive end while locking in key players for the future. New Englands biggest splash in the off-season was bringing deep threat Brandin Cooks. Brandin Cooks has posted back to back 1,100+ yard seasons in New Orleans before making his move up to New England. Now coming from the NFC South, Cooks is accustomed to playing in amazing weather all year round so it will be interesting to see how he can handle the cold of Massachusetts.
New England also brought in stud cornerback Stephen Gilmore to compliment Malcom Butler. These two corner’s have the potential to bring in a Lawyer Milloy-Ty Law minded defense. The resigning of Dont’a Hightower was huge for New England, especially with Rob Ninkovich announcing his retirement. Although Martellus Bennett chose to take his talents to Green Bay. New England simply upgraded and signed Dwayne Allen to back up Rob Gronkowski at TE. There is a lot of talk of the New England Patriots possibly going 19-0 this year. I think that is ridiculous and won’t even entertain that notion. With that said, this New England Patriots team, on paper looks to be the best team since 2007 and have a legitimate chance of repeating with ease.
The schedule for New England seems pretty easy in 2017 having to face the AFC and NFC south. Not to mention the New York Jets (who the Patriots will play twice) look to go winless this year. Patriots will win the AFC East no problem and will find themselves back in the Super Bowl this year.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB Tom Brady ( I smell another MVP this year)
2017 RECORD PREDICTION
14 – 2