The AFC East is in uncharted territory now that the New England Patriots no longer reign as the superior team in the division. Since the unceremonious departure of Tom Brady for Tampa Bay, New England has been an average team to say the least. But for the Patriots, an organization that has won six Super Bowls and appeared in many more in a 20-year span, mediocrity is simply not acceptable. And to make things worse, they had to watch their former quarterback take home a Lombardi in his first year with Tampa Bay.
All of the pressure has been squarely placed on the shoulders of Head Coach Bill Belichick who also acts as their general manager to assemble another championship roster. To jumpstart this process, Belichick opted to draft a quarterback in the 2021 draft and drafted quarterback Mac Jones.
In his rookie year, Jones showed signs of a being a franchise quarterback with a bright future, which is enough to get Patriots fans excited. But heading into the season people are still concerned with other positions on the team like defensive back and receiver, both of which the Patriots failed to properly address this offseason.
Heading into the 2022 season, the question remains if Belichick has assembled a team that will be able to challenge not only in their conference but at the very least, in their division. There are mixed reviews on how good of a team the Patriots can be with a second-year quarterback, a team constructed to run the ball, no offensive coordinator and a slightly above average defense. After reviewing their roster, I was able to project what I believe will be the best-case scenario, worst-case scenario and the most-likely scenario for the New England Patriots’ 2022 season.
Best Case Scenario:
– Jones takes the next step in becoming a franchise quarterback
– Receivers Tyquan Thornton and Devante Parker emerge as reliable targets for Jones
– The offensive line continues to play at a high level even with the losses of Ted Karras and Shaq Mason
– The Patriots develop a league-dominant run game
– The secondary plays well as a cohesive unit
– They get more quarterback pressure with four rushers
– The coaching staff hits a groove and finds their role to execute
Worst Case Scenario:
– Jones looks like a rookie still and there is no real development
– The receiver corps still lacks the ability to beat one-on-one coverage
– The key losses on the offensive line show
– The offense isn’t able to rely on a run game
– The Patriots secondary looks significantly worse without J.C. Jackson at one of the corner positions
– The lack of a true offensive coordinator on staff shows during in-game play calling
Most Likely Scenario:
– Jones continues to develop and plays well in this pro style play-action offensive system
– The offensive line unit plays well
– The Patriots establish a dominant run game
– This receiver corps continues to lack a true number one receiver and looks much like last year
– The loss of J.C Jackson is evident and the Patriots will miss a true playmaker on the defensive side of the ball
– There will be ebbs and flows in the offensive play calling some games will look really good and some will look really bad