With the NFL season on the horizon, it’s time to put together some predictions for the 2016 Patriots season. Coming off of another strong overall season, the expectations are high once again for the Pats despite Tom Brady missing the first four games. The Patriots have all of their key weapons on offense back with the exception of Dion Lewis and Brady to start the season. The defense is expected to be able to carry the team in stretches, particularly in the first part of the schedule.
So, let’s get to it! Here are ten predictions for the 2016 Patriots season!
1. Jimmy Garoppolo will throw for over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns over the first four games of the season. A lot has been made about Jimmy G.’s ability to lead this team. He’s going to prove that he can do more than just manage a game. With Rob Gronkowski and Julien Edelman on the field, Garoppolo will show that he’s perfectly capable of being a starting NFL QB. He’s going to be a pleasant surprise for Patriots Nation.
2. The Patriots will start the season with a 3-1 record. The Pats will lose the opener against the Cardinals and then win the next three home games against the Dolphins, Texans, and Bills. The Patriots open up with a tough game against Arizona regardless of who the quarterback is. The next three games are all winnable and the defense has a real opportunity to get off to a nice start in their first three home games against three weak offenses.
3. Martellus Bennett will score double digit touchdowns in 2016. Bennett gives Garoppolo and Brady another big red zone target to go along with Gronkowski. With defenses so focused on Gronk, Bennett will benefit and put up big TD numbers. Bennett adds a dimension to the Pats offense which will make them very difficult to defend.
4. Julien Edelmen will have a down year with under 1,000 yards receiving and less than 80 receptions. Similar to Wes Welker a few years ago, the slot role is going to start to catch up with Edelman as he continues to battle foot injuries. Edelman will still be a staple of the Patriots offense, but he won’t put up the huge numbers that we’ve been typically been used to recently.
5. James White will have over 1,000 total yards this season. White has a great opportunity to make an impact in passing situations this season in the absence of Dion Lewis. As we know, the Patriots are a passing team. White will play a big role and will deliver a solid season giving the Patriots yet another offensive weapon.
6. Barkevious Mingo won’t make a big impact. Mingo was the sixth pick in the 2013 NFL draft and he consistently underachieved with the Cleveland Browns. He made a couple of plays in the Patriots fourth preseason game and now all of the sudden many fans have his name penciled in as a Pro Bowler. Let’s take a breath here. This player hasn’t performed for three NFL seasons. That’s a large sample size.
7. The Patriots defense will be a Top 10 NFL defense, but not a Top 5 defense. There have been some reports by the local media that the Patriots may have the best defense in the NFL. The Patriots defense is very good. However, stating that it’s the elite defense in the league is a bit of a stretch. It will be good enough to carry them at times, but it doesn’t compare to the Broncos, Seahawks, and Cardinals defenses just name a few.
8. Jimmy Garoppolo will have a better winning percentage this season than Tom Brady. As it will stated earlier in the post, Garoppolo will go 3-1, a .750 winning percentage. The schedule gets a lot tougher after Week 5. It includes road games at the Jets, Broncos, and Steelers and the home games against the Bengals and Seahawks aren’t going to be easy.
9. The Patriots will win the AFC East with a record of 11-5. This certainly isn’t a bold prediction. The Pats have been winning the East every year and this year will be no different. Like the Patriots, the Jets have a difficult schedule and they won’t be able to dethrone the AFC East Champs.
10. The Patriots will get to the AFC Championship Game once again and lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers. What?! How can someone not pick the Patriots to win the Super Bowl?! Going against the conventional local pick here. The Steelers are trending upward. As always, home field advantage will be the key for the Patriots to get to the big game and this year they won’t have home field. Still, it’s amazing that this team is able to put itself in a position to get to the conference title game year after year.
We’re just days away for Patriots vs. Cardinals on Sunday Night! Enjoy the game and the 2016 Patriots season!