Five Predictions for the Patriots’ 2020 Season: Final Record Projection and More

It’s been a long and unique offseason, but this Sunday marks the return of New England Patriots football. With the season right on the cusp, now is a perfect time to give our Patriots’ 2020 season predictions. Let’s jump right in.

1.) The Run Game will be Much Improved from 2019

In 2018, the Patriots ran for 127.3 yards per game, which ranked 5th in the NFL. Last season, the Patriots run game regressed. They rushed for 106.4 per game, which ranked 18th in the NFL. So which performance are we more likely to see in 2020? We predict a 2018-like performance as the more likely outcome.

A big reason why is the offensive line. New England returns David Andrews, and Isaiah Wynn is now fully healthy. Yes, Marcus Cannon opted out, but the group is still good enough to be a top ten offensive line. Additionally, even though the tight ends are rookies, they project as better blockers than what the Patriots had at the position last season. If you need more hope the Patriots run game will bounce back in 2020, look no further than the fullback position. Jakob Johnson, who played sparingly last season in replacement of James Develin before getting injured himself, will make a big impact. His play last season was good but it was obvious he was still a raw talent. Now with more time under his belt, he should make for a solid run-blocking contributor.

Let’s not forget to mention the running backs either. While blocking is great, you still need someone to carry the rock. The Patriots have a solid group with Sony Michel, Damien Harris when he gets off IR, and Rex Burkhead. James White is still more of a passing back, but he’ll get some carries. Lastly, the overall scheme of the offense should create more opportunities for the run game. We expect the Patriots to become more run-heavy than we’ve seen in recent memory.

2.) Breakout Players: Isaiah Wynn (Offense), Chase Winovich (Defense)

It’s tough to pick only two breakout players (one on offense, one on defense), but if we had to nail down our top two choices it would be Isaiah Wynn and Chase Winovich. Wynn has been great in eight games, but unfortunately, that’s all we’ve been able to see. He’s suffered injuries in each of his two seasons in the NFL. In a press conference earlier this summer, Wynn stated that this offseason was his first offseason in the NFL not spent rehabbing. That’s a huge help for a guy that’s already shown a ton of potential. He seems to finally be fully healthy. We buy the hype on Wynn becoming a great tackle in this league.

On defense, Winovich is our pick to breakout. His 5.5 sacks in his rookie season were eye-opening as to what he could achieve if he can become a three-down player. Most of 2019, Winovich spent strictly rushing the passer. While that’s a great start, Winovich will be needed in a bigger role in 2020, after the loss of multiple edge players. A bigger roles means getting his shot on run snaps as well as additional pass-rushing snaps.

At the very least, Winovich will continue to wreak havoc on quarterbacks, but we have him projected to do a little bit more. He may not be a great run stopper this season, but he will show enough improvements in that area to keep him on the field. 

Other players we consider breakout candidates are: Adam Butler, Ja’Whaun Bentley, N’Keal Harry, and Damien Harris when healthy.

3.) The Lack of Offensive Weapons Will Remain the Biggest Weakness, While the Secondary Remains the Biggest Strength

It pains us to say, but the lack of weapons at wide receiver and tight end will remain the biggest weakness of the 2020 Patriots by seasons end. That’s not to say the group won’t improve, or won’t show any potential, but it’s going to take huge amounts of development at wide receiver and tight end to turn those positions into major strengths.

The good news is the Patriots offense won’t solely rely on the passing game. The run game should be the focus of this year’s team. We should also note that having a mobile quarterback in Cam Newton, someone we’ll talk about later, should help a group of receivers that struggle to get separation. The threat of a running quarterback will keep teams in a zone defense, thus allowing less press coverage on the wideouts.

As far as the strength of the Patriots at the end of the season? It will remain the secondary. We’ve talked about the group a lot, but it’s hard not to. The secondary held offenses to 180.4 yards per game in 2019, good for second in the NFL. Added to that, the group also led the NFL in interceptions with 25. The secondary may not repeat those kinds of interception numbers in 2020, but there’s no doubt in our mind they will dominate offenses this season. Stephon Gilmore, who held quarterbacks to a 44.1 passer rating when targeted, leads the corners along with J.C. Jackson, who held quarterbacks to a league-low 35.6 passer rating when targeted. Gilmore and Jackson are supplemented by Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones.

The safeties don’t have as much star power as the corners, but they are still loaded up with talent. Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Terrence Brooks, and Kyle Dugger is a nice safety rotation.

4.) Cam Newton Proves He is the Best QB in the AFC East

Many thought the Patriots claim to the best quarterback in the division died when Tom Brady signed with Tampa Bay, but we just don’t see that. No disrespect towards Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Tua Tagovailoa, or Ryan Fitzpatrick, but we predict Cam Newton uses 2020 to remind everyone how good he really is.

After missing most of the 2019 season and being released by the Carolina Panthers earlier in the offseason, it seems many forget what kind of quarterback Newton can be. In 2018, Newton threw for 3,395 yards and 24 touchdowns with a 67.9% completion percentage. He also ran for 488 yards and 4 touchdowns. If he can be that guy again, or something similar to that in 2020, there’s no doubt in our mind he’s the best quarterback in the AFC East. Don’t forget Josh McDaniels, a top offensive mind has been working the past few months to create unique new wrinkles for a Newton- led Patriots offense. That only adds to our confidence in Newton and his 2020 season. 

5.) The Patriots Finish 10-6 (with a floor of 8-8 and ceiling of 11-5)

Our Patriots record prediction is 10-6, which in our prediction, is just good enough to win the AFC East. The Bills, the other AFC East team led by their defense, will be battling with the Patriots for that top spot all season long. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Patriots fall to 9-7 while earning a wild card spot either, but we just can’t bet against the Patriots. The coaching, the defense, particularly the secondary, and the offensive line are just too much to pick against. Having the best quarterback in the division is also a huge help. We went ahead and added our floor and ceiling as well to give you an insight into our thought process.

Let us know your record prediction in the comments below!

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3 thoughts on “Five Predictions for the Patriots’ 2020 Season: Final Record Projection and More

  • September 9, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I’ll go 11-5 but with higher variability. Miami and Buffalo beat us when we have inaccurate passing and drops. We sneak a few out with developing weapons. We’re a low-scoring team, good D but not like last year.

  • September 10, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    13-3 BELIEVE


    GO PATS GO !!


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