New England Patriots Predictions – Best Bets 2021
2020 New England Patriots Review
The 2020 season was an abject disaster by any measure. For Pats fans like myself who talked themselves into (S)Cam Newton, we were rewarded with the NFL’s 27th ranked offense. Finishing 7-9 and sub .500 for the first time since 2000, hmm I wonder what changed? Maybe going from the GOAT to a guy who looks like he is chucking a paint can wasn’t the best idea.
The defense, despite ranking seventh in points against, wasn’t much better. Having multiple core defensive players opt out because of Covid-19 took its toll. The defense got worse as the year went on. After the anomaly of shutting out the Chargers in Week 13, they went on to lose three of four, giving up an average of 24.5 points per game to end the season.
What’s New for 2021/22
The Patriots will look a lot different this year after Bill Belichick’s free-agency spending spree. Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry are tight ends that are legitimate pass-catchers and block extremely well. In 2020 there were less than 30 targets to the tight ends. This isn’t Gronk/Hernandez 2.0 but it is a huge improvement. They also brought in Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor to bolster the wide receiver core.
Defensively they went out and got Matt Judon, Davon Godchaux, Jalen Mills, and brought back Kyle Van Noy. Add that to Dont’a Hightower coming back from the Covid 19 opt-out and this defense should be much improved.
The biggest storyline revolves around Mac Jones, the first-round QB from Alabama. Every Patriots fan wants Mac Jones to start the season – the thought of watching Cam Newton at the helm of the Patriots again has me contemplating life as a Jets fan. Hopefully, Bill comes to the same decision.
Strength of Schedule
The Patriots land the 19th most difficult schedule this year. Inside the AFC East, though, they have the most difficult schedule, tied with the Jets. They face six playoff teams and they get five of those games at home. So it’s a nice easy road schedule for the Pats in 2021.
Super Bowl +3500
AFC East +350
To Make Playoffs +110
Win Total O/U 9.5 -130
So much of these future bets depend on how long we see Cam Newton throwing balls at receiver’s feet. The consensus is we will see Mac Jones at some point this year – when is the question. Here is what I do know, there is no way in hell Bill is going to have another season like last year. He watched Brady walk out the door and win a Super Bowl and he is getting murdered everywhere for that decision. Bill vs Brady is definitely a thing. Bill cares about his legacy and if he doesn’t get something done (and something done quick) everyone is going to say it was all Tom. There is zero chance his ego lets that happen. With the improved offense, defense, easy road schedule, Bill’s ego and still getting to face the Jets and Dolphins twice, I love getting plus money for them to make the playoffs.
Best Bet: To Make Playoffs +110
New England Patriots Predictions – Player Prop Bets
Damien Harris O/U 845.5 Rushing Yards
Harris is in line for a lot of work regardless of who the QB is. Sony Michel is dust, James White is the pass catching back, leaving a lot of work for Harris. This team is going to run the ball a lot this year whether it’s to protect the rookie QB or to protect the QB who can’t throw. In 10 games last year he ran for 691 yards on 137 attempts. Burkehead is now gone so if Harris can stay healthy and even get through 13 games he is going to smash this over.
Pick: Harris O 845.5 Rushing Yards -110
Hunter Henry O/U 575.5 Receiving Yards
I love the addition of Henry but there are a lot of factors working against him getting over this total. Last year there were 30 targets to the tight end. Obviously, a player like Henry will get more targets, but there are a lot of new mouths to feed in this offense – they didn’t spend 41 million dollars on wide receivers to not throw to them. Fellow tight end Jonnu Smith will get close to if not as many targets as Henry. This team is going to be very run-heavy as well – it was one of the lowest pass volume teams in the league last year. Combine that with the fact he’s only gone over that total twice in his career, and his injury history makes it an easy decision for me.
Pick: Hunter Henry U 575.5 Receiving Yards
New England Patriots Predictions – Fantasy
This team is a dumpster fire for fantasy. Honestly, I would avoid everyone except for Damien Harris. SGPNs Nick Dant wrote a little blurb on him here. The Patriots have a lot of good guys – no great skill players – and I feel like they are going to cannibalize each other’s opportunities. If you want the headache of playing whack-a-mole with the skill position players, be my guest. but I’ll be avoiding it.
Draft: Damien Harris
Fade: Everyone Else
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