Here’s The Game Day’s New England Patriots 2021 Preview: 2020 Recap, Team 2021 Outlook, 2021 Betting Tips and 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook.
New England Patriots 2021 NFL Preview: New England 2020 Recap, 2021 Team Outlook For Fantasy Football & Betting
New England Patriots 2020 Season Recap
- Final record: 7-9 (5-3 Home / 2-6 Away)
- Division regular-season finish: Third
- Result: Missed Playoffs
The New England Patriots struggled in their first year without Tom Brady, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Their offense was run-heavy with limited weapons and their defense regressed, becoming one of the worst units in the NFL. It was clear that there needed to be wholesale changes if the Pats were to become playoff contenders, and fortunately for them, that’s exactly what happened this offseason.
2021 New England Patriots Offseason Changes
New England Patriots 2021 Offseason Departures
- RB Rex Burkhead (Texans)
- WR Damiere Byrd (Bears)
- CB Jason McCourty (Dolphins)
- WR Julian Edelman (Retired)
- OT Marcus Cannon (Texans)
- OL Joe Thuney (Chiefs)
- S Terrence Brooks (Texans)
- S Patrick Chung (Retired)
- LB Brandon Copeland (Falcons)
New England Patriots 2021 Free-Agency/Offseason Additions
- TE Jonnu Smith (Titans)
- TE Hunter Henry (Chargers)
- WR Nelson Agholor (Raiders)
- WR Kendrick Bourne (49ers)
- LB Kyle Van Noy (Dolphins)
- OT Trent Brown (Raiders)
- EDGE Matt Judon (Ravens)
- DT Davon Godchaux (Dolphins)
- C Ted Karras (Dolphins)
- DT Montravius Adams (Packers)
- CB Jalen Mills (Eagles)
- DL Henry Anderson (Jets)
New England Patriots 2021 NFL Draft Picks
- QB Mac Jones, Alabama (Round 1, Pick No. 15)
- DT Christian Barmore, Alabama (Round 2, Pick No. 38)
- DE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma (Round 3, Pick No. 96)
- RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma (Round 4, Pick No. 120)
- LB Cameron McGrone, Michigan (Round 5, Pick No. 177)
- S Joshua Bledsoe, Missouri (Round 6, Pick No. 188)
- OT William Sherman, Colorado (Round 6, Pick No. 197)
- WR Tre Nixon, UCF (Round 7, Pick No. 242)
New England Patriots 2021 Outlook
The Patriots look poised for a bounce-back season after a fantastic offseason in which they totally revamped their offense and bolstered their defense. The team had a huge haul in free agency with an impressive draft class. Doubt Bill Belichick coming off a disappointing season at your own risk.
Quarterback Cam Newton should benefit from the additions of wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne as well as tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry. This offense has the potential to be a nightmare in the red zone, where defenses will have to worry about Newton scrambling into the endzone or firing it to one of his tight ends.
Running back Damien Harris showed some potential in 2020, rushing for 691 yards on 137 carries (5.0 YPC). He’ll be joined by pass-catching specialist James White and rookie Rhamondre Stephenson, who reminds me of LeGarrette Blount. Newton should open up running lanes with his scrambling ability, so the Pats project to have a strong ground game this year.
The team brought back offensive tackle Trent Brown, who should help bolster an offensive line that projects to be one of the more formidable units in football this year. Tight ends Smith and Henry should cause mismatches, while Agholor might be one of the more underrated wide receivers in football. Add in Jakobi Meyers and Bourne, and you have the makings of a solid offense.
The defense is going to be much improved in 2021. Linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy are back in the mix, and New England also added edge rusher Matt Judon and nose tackle Davon Godchaux. Rookie defensive tackle Christian Barmore could also make an immediate impact in the trenches. Expect the defensive unit to return to prominence this year.
The AFC East is as strong as it’s been in years, with the Buffalo Bills continuing to establish themselves as an elite team and the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets making improvements throughout their roster. This projects as a three-team race with the Bills as favorites along with the Dolphins and Patriots. It’s hard to doubt Belichick, though, especially when he has a chip on his shoulder after missing the playoffs and watching Brady win a ring without him.
New England Patriots 2021 Fantasy Football Tips
Newton finished as QB16 in fantasy points per game despite only throwing eight touchdowns, which speaks volumes about his rushing ability. He should be able to double his touchdown output with the influx of new weapons at his disposal.
While there’s a chance he could lose his job to Mac Jones at some point, Newton is worth a look since he’s virtually free in drafts right now. I expect him to make the bulk of the starts this year, but we would have to bump up the team’s pass-catchers if Jones takes over.
Meyers (WR56 in PPR PPG) and Agholor (WR44) should have a fairly even target share among receivers. Meyers showed some upside last year, totaling 59 receptions and 729 yards, including a 12-catch, 169-yard performance against the Jets, while Agholor set career-highs across the board.
Smith(TE12) and Henry(TE10) will likely eat into each other’s value, requiring an injury to hit their ceiling. I wouldn’t consider any other pass-catcher in this low-volume, run-heavy offense.
Harris projects to be the lead back, but White is the pass-catching back and Stephenson can take away some touches as well. Having said that, I liked what I saw from Harris last year. If the Pats continue to feed him on early downs, there’s upside for 1000 rushing yards and 8-10 touchdowns.
White would benefit the most from a change to Jones at quarterback, as rushing QBs like Cam tend to avoid the check-down pass to their running back.
New England Patriots 2021 NFL Futures Bet Tips
New England Patriots To Make Playoffs (+110)
The Patriots went 7-9 despite their issues on both sides of the ball. Now, with a much-improved roster alongside a Hall-of-Fame coach with a chip on his shoulder, it’s hard to see a path where the Patriots wind up missing the playoffs.
Their defense should be among the best in football and their offense should excel at ball-control, even if Jones ends up starting at quarterback. That’s a good formula for winning football, making it likely that the team returns to the playoffs this season.
Bill Belichick To Win Coach Of The Year (+2000)
This is terrific value on the best coach in NFL history. You have to think that he’s motivated to prove that he can win without Brady. After all, the only two seasons where the Patriots missed the playoffs under Belichick came when they didn’t have Brady under center.
If the Pats can win the AFC East or even secure a top-two seed, you can bet that Belichick would be in play for this award. This team looks like one of the most improved in football, making this bet worth a look.
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