5 bold predictions for the New England Patriots in the 2023 NFL season

Will these 5 bold predictions for the Patriots come true in the 2023 NFL season?
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills / Timothy T Ludwig/GettyImages
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The New England Patriots have their backs against the wall in the 2023 NFL season, but they could shock the world and make some noise. They could also fall flat on their faces. This will be a very interesting and crucial season for this franchise. If the team again fails to make the playoffs, I think you can expect wholesale changes from top to bottom.

If they are able to scrap together a playoff berth, the current set-up might get another chance to run it back. Perhaps no person in the organization is under more pressure than Mac Jones, who regressed into a sub-par passer in year two. Now in a crucial third season, Jones is going to have to show enough to stick around.

A repeat of his 2021 rookie season, I think, is the minimum of what he needs to show for the 2023 season to stick around. Well, there are so many different things that can transpire in 2023. Let's make some bold predictions for the team in 2023.

5 bold predictions for the New England Patriots in the 2023 NFL season
1. Patriots finish last in the AFC East

The New England Patriots simply do not have the roster or firepower to compete with their rivals in the AFC East. I would argue that the Pats only have an offensive line advantage over the teams, but even that can be disputed depending on what the team does with their shaky tackle situation.

There are elite, high-octane players on each rivals' roster, and I think the Pats are missing that type of player on their squad. Perhaps Bill Belichick still being on the sideline gives them a weekly advantage, but that didn't exactly hold true last year. Could New England shock the world and finish above the Jets or Dolphins? Maybe; they did go 8-9 last year with one of the most inefficient offenses in the NFL, but I think they're just at a huge roster disadvantage.

2. Bailey Zappe starts meaningful games in 2023

Whether it's due to injury or bad play that holds Mac Jones out of the lineup, I think second-year QB Bailey Zappe ends up starting meaningful games for the New England Patriots in 2023. What is a bit interesting is that Zappe did look a bit better as a passer than Jones did in 2022. Zappe played within the framework of the offense and largely made very good decisions with the football.

And now that Zappe is learning a new offense from an established offensive mind, I truly would not be surprised if Zappe isn't that far behind Mac Jones. Yes, Jones is the unquestioned starter of the team, but I bet internally, some are thinking that Bailey Zappe isn't that much of a drop off in talent.