Odds say Patriots will win Over 9 games in 2021-22
The 2021 NFL Draft is just a few short weeks away and it has teams around the league maneuvering their rosters and draft capitol to best position themselves for the upcoming season. One of the more active teams this offseason has been the New England Patriots, who hope to recover from a disappointing 7-9 season last year and re-ascend to the top of the AFC East.
The Patriots' 2021-22 season win total is set at 9, and today we’ll look at why taking the Over is the best bet to make.
|Over 9 Wins||Uner 9 Wins|
Hightower's return will be huge for Pats' D
To begin with, the Patriots will be returning key linebacker Dont’a Hightower, their defensive leader that opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 precautionary measures. Hightower is a ball-hawking, do-everything presence in the middle of the field and without him the Patriots defense that was best in the league in 2019 certainly faltered in 2020. He had 71 tackles in 2019 and 13 quarterback hits, and his return will be key to improvement on that side of the ball.
Patriots made major upgrades on offense
On the other side of the ball is where things will be very interesting with the Patriots. In an unusual flurry of offseason activity for the Patriots organization, Bill Belichick has made an intentional effort to revamp his weaponry to accommodate for the absence of Tom Brady.
Offensive tackle Trent Brown was brought over from Las Vegas. Wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne will be immediate upgrades at what has otherwise been a disappointing position, and tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith should bring more athleticism and points-production than now-traded former starter Ryan Izzo.
Longtime veteran Julian Edelman is still a question mark due to a knee injury, and is thought to be doubtful as a contributor in 2021 (and maybe ever), but if he’s able to join the team in the final month that would be a valuable addition as well.
Could Garoppolo be headed back to New England?
At the quarterback position, things remain up in the air. Recent drama with the San Francisco 49ers has many thinking that a draft-day pickup of former Patriot Jimmy Garoppolo could be under consideration. Regardless of who ends up under center for the Patriots though, it will be someone that has more weapons than the 2020 Patriots did, and potentially more experience as well.
Cam Newton played last season as his first with Belichick, and while the veteran looked downright abysmal at times in the second half of the year, an entire offseason with Belichick will presumably help boost his performance if he gets the call. Through the first 10 weeks of last season he was averaging 7.6 yards per pass attempt and ended the season with a 65% completion percentage, the second highest mark of his career. With better weapons to throw to, a second year with Newton should see improvement.
An extended season should help the Pats
It's also worth noting that the NFL has extended the regular season to 17 games effective this year. While all sharp money is dutifully accounting for this, for a short while all season win total Overs will feel a notch too high as our habit-forming minds are accustomed to seeing totals set for a 16-game season. Reactionary public bettors might be delivering a slight bit of value as a result.
Will the Patriots make the playoffs this season?
Last but not least, the Patriots ending the 2020 season third in the AFC East means they will play a third-place team’s schedule. The official schedule isn’t yet released, but we should expect the Patriots to have a bit of class relief relative to most seasons as they will get to avoid some of the more high-profile games that force them to compete against fellow first-place teams from the prior season.
All of these things accounted for, and I expect improved results from New England in 2021, and for the Pats to get to at least 10-7 to cash their season win total over.