3 reasons why the Patriots can sneak into the playoffs in 2024

The Patriots could stun the NFL this season with a postseason berth
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

It's nearing the end of May, so football is one month closer to returning. Just a few weeks ago, the schedule and the Patriots' path to the postseason were revealed.

Despite all the changes that happened in New England this offseason, the Patriots can't be counted out of postseason contention right away. There are ways they can make the postseason and shock the entire NFL with a playoff berth.

But what are those ways?

3 reasons why the Patriots can sneak into the playoffs in 2024

1. A top defense in the NFL

It's common knowledge that the Patriots' offense is not exactly a strong unit. However, the defense is, especially the secondary, which is partly led by Jabrill Peppers, who stepped up last year and became a leader on the defensive side of the ball.

His leadership and play on the field will blend nicely with Christian Gonzalez's return from injury. Gonzalez was off to a hot start last season before his rookie season was cut short. Now, a no-fly zone could form with those two together and with Jonathan Jones.

The pass rush will also be top-tier again with the return of Matthew Judon, who spent nearly all of last season sidelined due to injury. In his absence, the pass rush was almost nonexistent. But now Judon, and a recently paid Christian Barmore will pick up where they left off last season and make the defense even more dominant.

Additionally, Keion White will be the third head in the triple-headed monster the Patriots have on the line. With this group of pass rushers, quarterbacks will often be under duress. The defense will carry the Patriots throughout the season, especially in the second half, once the schedule eases up.

2. New leadership and offense

One of the biggest storylines this offseason was Bill Belichick's departure. Jerod Mayo took over as head coach, and Eliot Wolf is the architect of this new roster. The offense got a complete overhaul, with Mac Jones sent to Jacksonville and new faces on the offensive line, at wide receiver, and, of course, at quarterback.

Drake Maye and Jacoby Brissett will most likely see the field this season. But there are some new faces in the wide receiver room. Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker were selected in the second and fourth rounds and both have the talent to be the number one target for the quarterbacks, especially Baker who could be considered a steal.

The Patriots also added K.J. Osborn from the Minnesota Vikings, who can play the slot position. Most importantly, Alex Van Pelt comes over from Cleveland to be the new offensive coordinator. A new offense, new receivers, and new quarterbacks is exactly what the Patriots' offense needed.

3. The second half of the schedule

The NFL schedule makers showed no mercy at the beginning of the season. But because all of the most brutal games are in the beginning, the second half of the schedule is easy. But how easy?

The Patriots take on the Tennessee Titans starting in Week 9. Despite having Deandre Hopkins and Calvin Ridley, this team is not good. They lost Derrick Henry, who literally carried this team throughout his career. Will Levis is a prime candidate for a sophomore slump.

A secondary like New England's will be busy, but they will also have a field day against Tennessee. Plus, Mike Vrabel is no longer the coach, another demerit against the Titans.

After that, they play the Bears, which... it's the Bears. Even with Caleb Williams, this team is still years away from being a threat. The first loss of the second half could happen the following week against the Rams; it just depends on how the Rams have been playing on the road.

The Patriots' annual loss at Miami happens the following week, and they return home against a Colts team that struggled to beat the Patriots a season ago. The Patriots wrap up the season at Arizona, hosting the Chargers and playing a pair of games against the Bills.

In this four-game stretch, the Patriots are capable of going 3-1, including a win against the division rival that could knock them out of postseason contention. With all of that being said, the Patriots could breeze through the second half and put themselves right at the seventh seed.

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