There has been a lot of talk again about a perfect season for the New England Patriots. But winning another Super Bowl is clearly New England’s main goal.
Earlier this week, Matt Godelman discussed the prospects of the New England Patriots running the table. Prior to that, I questioned whether or not expectations are too high for the Patriots.
Does New England have the talent and depth on the roster to go undefeated in 2017? Yes. Would an undefeated regular season benefit the team and solidify its place in NFL history? Not necessarily. Winning another Vince Lombardi Trophy or two would simply make the Patriots the best team ever. They do not have to go unbeaten to prove anything.
That said, I have argued a loss or two can help this squad stay motivated throughout the season. There are several teams that can beat New England in 2017. I have the Patriots finishing the regular season at 13-3 and see them going at least 12-4 en route to winning a ninth straight AFC East title. The three losses I have are hosting the Carolina Panthers in Week 4, squaring off against the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City in Week 11 and visiting the Miami Dolphins in Week 14.
But there are a few other matchups that could prove to be difficult too, although the defending Super Bowl champs are favored in every game. Here’s a brief look at potential upsets in 2017…
Hosting Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 (Thursday, September 7th)
Kansas City is one of the few teams that has a defense capable of holding New England’s offense in check. Chance of upset: 25%
Visiting New Orleans Saints in Week 2 (Sunday, September 17th)
The Saints will welcome their former wide receiver Brandin Cooks back to town and will be very motivated to prove they made the right move in letting him go to the Patriots. Chance of upset: 30%
Hosting Carolina Panthers in Week 4 (Sunday, October 1st)
This is a sneaky game at the end of the first month. Not only does Carolina have a strong defense but also a powerful running game that can help keep New England’s offense off the field. Chance of upset: 40%
Hosting Atlanta Falcons in Week 7 (Sunday, October 22nd)
Huge revenge game for the Falcons, who should be even better this season. But can they move past the Super Bowl meltdown? Chance of upset: 35%
Visiting Oakland Raiders (Mexico City) in Week 11 (Sunday, November 19th)
This could be the toughest game on the schedule for the Patriots playing away from home against a top contender on the rise. Chance of upset: 50%
Visiting Miami Dolphins in Week 14 (Monday, December 11th)
The biggest game for Miami in more than a decade played in prime time versus a divisional rival. That’s probably an understatement. Chance of upset: 45%
Visiting Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15 (Sunday, December 17th)
Another massive revenge game for the opposition, only the Steelers get the opportunity to host the Pats. Chance of upset: 55%