We're at that point in the NFL offseason when the hot takes start rolling in, and the bolder, the better, right?
Considering how pessimistic the takes are when discussing the Patriots' upcoming season, it's pretty difficult to find anything that may excite you as a fan. But one publication posted one of the wildest yet intriguing take that many New England fans may want to read.
In one of the more recent pieces published by Sports Illustrated entitled "100 Bold Predictions for the 2023 NFL Season", author Conor Orr made a vastly controversial prediction about the Patriots' 2023 season; he believes they have a good chance to win the AFC East.
"Bill O’Brien is back and carrying a new bag of tricks from his Alabama getaway. This offense can sensibly grind out games behind a brilliant defense. You’ll ask: But what about the Dolphins, Jets, and Bills? My thought is that this division may end up collapsing in on itself a little bit. There are a lot of heavyweight punchers here, each of which have some very talented but fatal flaws. The Dolphins, for example, are going to have a tough time not burning themselves out. The Bills are dependent on reinventing themselves around an intentionally less mobile Josh Allen. The Jets’ title hopes rest on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers, who may be great and newly motivated. He is also flirting with age 40 and may be starting to show it."
Upon first reading, it seems Orr has really gone out of his way to make a dramatic prediction for the reaction, especially since most media outlets and fans have already decided the Patriots will finish last in the division.
But when looking at his reasoning, it makes sense.
Of course, writing off any team in May/June is ridiculous. The NFL regular season is three months away, and plenty can change between now and then. Not to mention, how many rosters look great on paper but never perform up to expectations?
Unfortunately, that's precisely where Patriots fans find themselves in dealing with initial conclusions about New England's season. Because of the Jets' trading for Aaron Rodgers, the Dolphins having a good draft and big free agent pickups, and the Bills continuing to reign supreme, the Patriots have been stamped as the weakest team in the division, if not worse.
And then you look at what Orr had to say about it all. Are his points valid? Or did he form them just to back up his hot take?
Well, it could be both. However, there are a few things to consider when deciding.
Is it wild to think the Dolphins will have a lot to overcome as they face the third overall most difficult strength of schedule?
Is it unbelievable that the Bills may struggle to find their footing with the changes they're implementing with their offense, starting with Josh Allen?
Is it ridiculous to believe that Aaron Rodgers won't be the saving grace for the Jets to see some sliver of success this season?
They don't seem crazier than suggesting the Patriots will barely win any games and end fourth in the division. On the contrary, they are fair counterpoints to those who have already proclaimed the three teams Super Bowl favorites. And at least it's one of, if not the only, more optimistic takes on the Patriots' upcoming season thus far.