How confident am I in the new look Patriots you ask? Super confident. Confident enough that I bet a friend of mine $20 (woah, big spender) they would have an 11+ win season. Am I delusional? Sure. Doesn’t mean I won’t be right though. So what if it was just the Dolphins, last time I checked this league is judged on wins and losses (okay, and maybe sometimes spreads), but they don’t ask how, they ask how many.
Let’s begin our journey by asking ourselves: How in the world are we going to will a team lead by Cam Newton, Bill Belichick and a depleted defense to an 11-win season? Great question. According to Odds Shark, New England began the season projected for a 9-win total with the over paying out -130 odds. So what does this team have to do to beat those odds. It all comes down to the schedule and where they will be able to pick up 10 more wins.
Week 1: vs. Miami Dolphins (W 21-11)
Week 2: @ Seattle Seahawks (Could go either way, leaning Seattle)
Week 3: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (Must Win)
Week 4: @ Kansas City Chiefs (Probably a Loss)
Week 5: vs Denver Broncos (Must Win)
Week 6: BYE
Week 7: vs. San Francisco (Beatable Team)
Week 8: @ Buffalo Bills (I think they split the home and home with Buf, so L)
Week 9: @ New York Jets (Must Win)
Week 10: vs. Baltimore Ravens (Yikes)
Week 11: @ Houston Texans (Beatable Team)
Week 12: vs. Arizona Cardinals (Beatable Team)
Week 13: @ Los Angeles Chargers (Must Win)
Week 14: @ Los Angeles Rams (Beatable Team)
Week 15: @ Miami Dolphins (Must Win)
Week 16: vs. Buffalo Bills (Split home and home, W)
Week 17: vs. New York Jets (Must Win)
So, including the Dolphins win in Week 1 there are 7 must win games on this board which means if my calculations are correct (please follow along with a calculator at home), I need to find 4 more wins. Say the Pats for sure lose to Seattle, Kansas City and Baltimore that leaves us with San Fransisco, Arizona, Houston, Los Angeles Rams and Buffalo (twice). Now 4 wins from those 6 games isn’t going to be easy, but I never promised easy. Is it impossible? No. Am I currently terrified after breaking down the schedule? Yup. But at the end of the day who cares. The Patriots will continue to Patriot because that’s all they’ve ever done since I was born. With a former MVP running the offence and a 6-time Super Bowl Champion in Bill Belichick at the helm, this team has the key tools in place to win games.
But forget all that, let’s talk about why you’re really here. You thought Cam Newton was washed up, didn’t you? You thought his glory years were behind him? For gosh sakes, Josh McDaniels took Tim Tebow to the playoffs and you think he can’t do that and much more with Cam? You are wrong and now you’re going to pay for it.
It seems like Newton has decided that this is going to be a big F-U year to all of his doubters. It seems like he has a found a new home in New England. I don’t think Belichick has ever had a weapon quite like Newton at QB and that, at the very least, should have the league on watch. This Patriots offence has a whole new point of attack where they absolutely wear you down for 60 minutes of football and just when you think they are going to run it down your throats once again, Cam drops back and finds Edelman up the seam for a big gain. Unpredictability is going to be the biggest strength of this Patriots team and I think that’s exactly how Bill likes it. People haven’t seen what Belichick can do with mobility at the QB position and nonetheless with a guy whose built like Khalil Mack with a strong throwing ability. It’s not likely Cam will have to throw more than 30-35 times a game anyways with the way the offence is built. Clock management and moving the sticks will be the Patriots best friend.
Cam Newton is a certified monster at 6’5, 245 pounds and when he runs, he comes straight down hill. He doesn’t need to run around you when he can run right through you, which is going to give defences nightmares. I’d put Cam in the top-3 players defences don’t want to tackle, up there with Derrick Henry. It’s like trying to tackle a full-sized SUV, good luck even making a dent. It’s also important to note that Newton broke a Patriots record in his first game with the team breaking the single-game rushing record for a QB with 75 yards on the ground. Don’t expect that record to last long, he’s got a lot more work to do. He was also able to contribute with two rushing touchdowns in Sunday’s game. That production combined with an efficient passing game (15/19 for 155 yards) is most definitely a recipe for success.
One way or another the Patriots find a way to compete and there should be no reason why they aren’s stirring things up with the top of the league all season. What is dead may never die, go Pats!