Can The Patriots Actually Go 16-0?
Yes, I know. The Patriots are the NFL’s most obnoxious team, starting off as an underdog in 2001, and becoming a national favorite for beating the big, bad St. Louis Rams. That’s right. Can you imagine the Patriots were 14 point underdogs to the Rams? Since then, the biggest spread is 12 points when the Patriots, well, let’s not talk about that one. Anyways, the Patriots are coming off a 14-2 season in which Tom Brady only lost one game, to Seattle, in which Rob Gronkowski punctured his lung. In the past two seasons, with Dion Lewis active, the Patriots are 17-0. For next season, not only will the Patriots have Dion Lewis back, but they will also have Bills running back Mike Gillislee (who led the league in yards per carry), Brandin Cooks (arguably the fastest receiver in the league) and Stephon Gilmore to play alongside Malcolm Butler. Yes, the Patriots very well could be even better this year than they were last year. Also, it has been revealed that the Patriots have one of the easiest schedules next season.
So, without further adieu, here is a very biased, yet somewhat factual way of convincing myself, and other Patriots fans that they should not only repeat as champions, but not taste the agony of defeat once all of next season. Since they are the Patriots, we’ll start them off 6-0 against the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins because that is only fair. The Patriots, since they won their division last year, will face two other division leaders, the Texans and the Steelers. Since the Patriots play the Texans about as closely as Varsity Teams play Junior Varsity Teams, and this is a home game, we’ll move the Patriots on to 7-0. The Steelers, on the road, are never easy to face, but the Patriots have two corners capable of matching up with anybody on the Steelers, and the Patriots more than handled the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. Some may say, “hey, didn’t the Steelers lose Le’veon Bell in that game?”. Yes, they did, but Bell was largely stopped before he exited the game. The Steelers generally beat the Patriots when they have a top defense, which they do not now, and the Patriots will have Gronkowski and Cooks running wild, and we will likely see a few spikes from Gronk and a few arrows shot into the stands by Cooks. So, yes, the Patriots are now 8-0.
In order to not waste your time, we will forget games against the Chargers, Saints, or Panthers, who, as a group, combined to win one more game than the Patriots last year (18-30 combined), while the Patriots only needed 19 games to win 17. Had the Patriots had Brady for their home loss to the Bills last year, it is likely they would have equaled that number by the other three teams. Also, for the game against the Saints, the Patriots will have Brandin Cooks fully motivated to show his old team what they are missing out on. So, yes, the Patriots are now 11-0. This is when things start to get a little more difficult. The Patriots will still have games against the Falcons, Bucs, Raiders, Broncos, and Chiefs. The Patriots face the Chiefs at home to open up the 2017 NFL Season, and Roger Goodell will be in Gillette Stadium for the first time since DeflateGate. The only sad fan leaving New England will be the sad, temporary Chiefs fan named Roger, who has to give Tom Brady his fifth ring. As for the Buccaneers, they might have Jameis Winston, but they have got nothing on defense to stop this high powered offense, and the hoodie usually does pretty well against young quarterbacks. Speaking of young quarterbacks, Denver still has no idea who they will start at quarterback, and they only scored 3 points against New England last year, when they were at home. While this might be another home game, the Patriots defense has only improved with players like Gilmore and Ealy in the fold, while the offense has gotten even better. Good luck to Denver’s secondary, which might be elite, but they have no way of stopping the two tight end attack, with Dwyane Allen now playing second fiddle to Gronk. Expect the Patriots to score more than 16 points in this one, and expect Denver to score roughly the same. They’re now 14-0.
This now leaves the two toughest games of the year, Oakland and Atlanta. Many football fans were disappointed when Derek Carr’s knee injury stopped the dream matchup between the present, being the Patriots, and the future, the Raiders. Oakland’s offense is loaded with players like Carr, Crabtree and Cooper, but their defense also boasts players like Khalil Mack who could make Tom Brady’s life a living hell. If this game was in Oakland, which the schedule might have you believe, this would be a much tougher call. However, this game is in Mexico, where Tom Brady is basically a god, and you can surprisingly find him on billboards everywhere. Unfortunately for Oakland, I do not think they can beat the Patriots on a neutral field, and I expect New England to play well. Expect Brady and the Patriots to do their homework, and not be thrown off in this high-altitude challenge.
The final matchup involves one team who blew a 25 point lead in the super bowl, and another team that made the best comeback in Super Bowl history. Expect Stephon Gilmore to key in on Julio Jones, and Malcom Butler to shut down Sanu. With this game being at home, the Patriots likely won’t need Brady to throw for 400 yards in the second half to win this one. Yeah, the Patriots are going 16-0, and if I had the money to, I would have already booked my tickets to Minnesota to see Brady get his 6th ring, and tie the Steelers’ FRANCHISE for most Super bowl wins. I guess the next question is if Brady throws for more or less than 56 touchdowns this year. Stay tuned.
P.S I know we, as Pat fans, are insufferable, but we’ll be just like the rest of you when Brady retires, in 2035.