It won’t be easy making New England Patriots season predictions for 2022. With Tom Brady long gone, the glory days are over for Bill Belichick and the Pats.
Patriots season predictions 2022
However, they still won 10 games and made the playoffs last year, so there is some hope.
But how do the Patriots fit into the NFL season predictions and NFL award predictions this year?
Without knowing what the future has in store for Belichick and company, let’s look at some rather bold Patriots season predictions in 2022.
Patriots start season 0-4
When looking at the Patriots’ season schedule this year, things don’t exactly look easy.
Specifically, New England’s early-season schedule figures to be tricky, which could lead to a slow start.
The Patriots are on the road in three of the first four weeks of the season, facing the Dolphins, Steelers, and Packers while hosting the Ravens in Week 3. Of those four games, a road game in Pittsburgh might be the easiest, which says a lot about how challenging New England’s schedule is early in the season, making an 0-4 start far from impossible, even if it seems unlikely based on how successful the Pats have been over the last two decades.
Mac Jones has sophomore slump
One reason the Pats are vulnerable to a slow start is they will be relying a lot more on Jones in his second season than during his rookie year. That could lead to a sophomore slump for the former Alabama quarterback. While Mac Jones played well enough to get the Pats to the playoffs last year, he didn’t exactly light the world on fire.
He averaged a modest 7.3 yards per pass with 22 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. Jones was never considered a high-end talent coming out of college, and since the Patriots don’t have an exceptional supporting cast around him, it wouldn’t be surprising to see his numbers take a step backward in 2022.
Matthew Judon finishes with 10-plus sacks
Questions about Jones aside, the Patriots are still in good shape on the defensive side of the ball.
Once again, Judon figures to be a key part of the New England defense. He tallied 12.5 sacks last season and shouldn’t experience much of a drop-off in 2022. If the Patriots have a problem, it’s that nobody but Judon had more than five sacks last season. But that shouldn’t stop him from racking up at least 10 sacks this year.
Patriots finish with top-10 defense
This won’t be the same New England defense we saw last season, especially with J.C. Jackson no longer in the picture. But the Patriots allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL last season, so there is little chance that they fall outside of the top-10 defenses in the league this year.
Even without Jackson, the Pats are still solid at cornerback with Jalen Mills and Malcolm Butler, not to mention a strong set of safeties and a solid front-seven that includes Judon. That collection of players should be more than enough to give the Patriots a top-10 defense.
Hunter Henry is the leading receiver
The good news is that Hunter Henry is poised to have another good season in New England. He had good chemistry with Jones last year, amassing over 600 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. But the bad news is that there’s a good chance he’ll be New England’s leading receiver.
The Patriots hope that DeVante Parker can solve their problem when it comes to not having a top-flight receiver. But if Jones and Parker don’t get on the same page right away, he could have a disappointing season. Without any other high-end receiver on the roster, Jones will look at Henry frequently, allowing him to lead the team in receiving.
No 1,000-yard rusher
One of the easiest Patriots’ season predictions in 2022 will be the lack of a 1,000-yard rusher. Belichick always likes to rotate his running backs, going with the hot hand or looking for a favorable matchup.
To be fair, Damien Harris was just 71 yards shy of reaching 1,000 yards last season, and that was in just 15 games. But Harris will have to share carries with Rhamondre Stevenson and James White this year.
Remember that White only played three games last season, so he’ll be a bigger part of the New England offense this year. That rotation will leave the Pats without a 1,000-yard rusher this year.
Josh McDaniels and the Raiders beat the Patriots
In one of the best NFL games in 2022, the Patriots will pay a visit to the Raiders and their new coach Josh McDaniels in Week 15.
Unfortunately, that trip to Las Vegas may not end up being a favorable matchup for the Patriots. Keep in mind McDaniels beat Belichick head-to-head when he was coaching Denver more than a decade ago.
The Patriots will be on a short week after playing the previous Monday night in Arizona, giving McDaniels and the Raiders a slight edge in this matchup, handing Belichick and the Patriots a tough loss in Week 15.
Patriots finish 7-10, miss Playoffs
Our Patriots’ schedule predictions for 2022 have New England winning just seven games and missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
As mentioned, the Patriots face a challenging schedule early, although they have several winnable games between weeks 5 and 11.
But over the final six weeks of the season, the Patriots have to play the Bills twice and also have road games with the Cardinals and Raiders, as well as home dates with the Bengals and Dolphins. Wins will be hard to find during that stretch, giving the Pats just their second losing season since 2000.