We won’t know how the 2022 goes for the New England Patriots until it’s over, but there are at least three things that will happen during the season. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing the team have a great defense, and we’ve always mostly expected a strong offense.
However, this offseason has proven that the Patriots being able to willingly score the ball in year’s past might not be the case this year. In the loaded AFC, the Patriots will have their backs against the wall as they try to make some noise with a promising second year quarterback and an old school head coach.
I do think deep down many of us think that this season won’t go as we hope it will, but if anyone could dig their way out of this early hole, its Bill Belichick. In looking towards the 2022 season, what are three things we can expect to happen?
1. The Patriots’ impresses yet again
The Patriots will have a killer defense yet again. The Pats’ D over the years has been very consistent, so no one really bats an eye when the team ranks as one of the best scoring defenses in the league.
It’s a nice problem to have, but also something that is expected of them at this point. Matthew Judon looks to build on his great 2021 season, and players like Christian Barmore and Kyle Dugger look to breakout themselves.
The defense will likely keep the Patriots in many games, which is at least one side of the equation settled. The increased pressure given the underperformance of the offense this offseason could prevent the defense from reaching their full potential, but the Patriots having a good defense based on their expectations might end up being better than other teams who have a great defense.
2. The offense is going to struggle quite a bit
I think the second thing that is all but guaranteed to happen is the offense struggling in 2022. We’ve seen poor play calling from both Joe Judge and Matt Patricia this offseason, which doesn’t make any of us feel good about the upcoming season.
Mac Jones might have even more on his plate in 2022 to take that second year leap that we’ve seen from other quarterbacks across the league recently. It remains to be seen if he can overcome the uncertainty and inconsistency with the playcalling.
Jones is an incredibly intelligent player who throws with excellent accuracy and anticipation. He’s not the most athletic, but he uses his own skillset as well as he can. Hopefully the offensive line can develop some chemistry as a unit, and hopefully the new addition of DeVante Parker helps Jones take a leap in the passing game.
While I do like the personnel the Patriots have on offense, I’m not so sure that they’ll be able to score with ease like they have in the past.
3. Serious questions will arise about the future of the Patriots
The 2022 season will be a one of serious reflection for the New England Patriots. I am unfortunately projecting the team to win less than 10 games and miss the playoffs, which should prompt serious questions about the team’s future.
People across the NFL, and perhaps people with the Patriots will begin to ask if this is still the direction that the team should go. Can the team still win games and Super Bowls with a 70 year old defensive head coach?
I think questions will also be asked about Mac Jones, and if his second year performance was at all limited by the offensive playcalling. More questions will be asked about if Jones is truly the guy, or if the Patriots should look to try and acquire a noticeable upgrade.
The Patriots might eventually have to follow the leader in that sense, where they hire a young, offensive minded head coach and focus on the offensive side of the ball more than the defense. Since Bill Belichick has had so much success with his coaching methods, it might be hard to accept that what he tends to do is falling out of favor in the NFL.