The Patriots begin their season Sunday at Gillette Stadium, as they take on the Dolphins at 4:25 p.m. EST. Here is five bold predictions for this season:
1. Damien Harris Ranks Top 5 in Rushing Yards
Last season, Harris rushed for 691 yards in 10 games. Over a 16-game season, Harris would have rushed for 1,105 yards, placing him 4th in the NFL. Harris was also the second highest graded running back per PFF. Cam Newton, Sony Michel, and Rex Burkhead’s departure will increase red zone touches for Harris as well. With the Offensive Line being one of the strongest positions on the team, Damien Harris should feast as RB1 in New England.
2. Jakobi Meyers Leads the Patriots in Receiving Yards
The Patriots passing attack has added four additional weapons beyond Jakobi Meyers. Expect Mac Jones to spread the football all over the field, but Meyers will be the safety net. Meyers was the 2nd highest graded wideout of the preseason (91.4) and defenses will continue to forget about him. Nelson Agholor will stretch the field, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry will cause the most attention defensively, leaving Jakobi Meyers 1v1 with a cornerback third on the depth chart. If that is the case, Meyers will be open early and often.
3. Jake Bailey Will Become a Back-to-Back All-Pro Punter
Have to acknowledge special teams when it comes to the Patriots. Jake Bailey was an absolute weapon for New England in 2020. Even though the Patriots will be punting significantly less than last season, when the ball is in Bailey’s hands, the league is on notice.
4. Josh Uche Leads the Patriots in Quarterback Sacks and Pressures
This may sound surprising due to Matt Judon’s relentless presence this summer, but Josh Uche has caused serious problems this preseason. Uche continued to stand out on the practice field and preseason games. Flying over the field, Uche looks healthy and ready for a second-year breakout.
5. The Patriots Go 12-5 and Split With Buffalo
12 wins may not even be enough to top off the Buffalo Bills, but it would make New England one of the best teams in the AFC. Both matchups will be must watch and the Patriots will get their revenge on the Bills this season. The league is mistakenly underestimating New England; To win in this league, a team needs a strong offensive line, an ability to score in the red zone, and must get to the cornerback with man-to-man defense. No surprise to see Bill Belichick sign two red-zone monster Tight Ends while drafting and spending on players who make a living off of QB sacks and pressures. The Patriots offense will be versatile and creative yet again and the defense will suffocate opposing Quarterbacks.