With an unmatched run of dominance over a period of almost 20 years, the New England Patriots have put together a franchise resume that many believe is the best of all time. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers can match the 6 Super Bowl titles won by the Pats and no other team is even close to the 11 appearances made by New England. Nine of those appearances have come in the last 19 seasons, all featuring the iconic pairing of Head Coach Bill Belichick and Quarterback Tom Brady.
Owner Robert Kraft can lay claim to 10 of the 11 Super Bowl appearances, as prior to his purchase of the franchise in 1994, the Patriots did not have much success on the field or at the gate. Immediately after he bought the team, the Patriots enjoyed their first ever fully sold out season. The team has sold out every game since he arrived as owner.
The Killer B’s
In the year 2000, the Patriots hired Belichick to be their head coach. He had been an assistant with the team in 1996, but at the time of his hire as the man in charge, he was a high level assistant with the rival New York Jets. He had experience as a head coach in Cleveland from 1991-95, but that run wasn’t even remotely as successful as what would unfold in Foxboro.
In his first season at the helm, Belichick stumbled onto a future Hall of Fame quarterback in the 6th round of the draft. He grabbed Brady with the 199th overall pick, but the team was quite satisfied at the time with their current quarterback, Drew Bledsoe. When Bledsoe got hurt the following year, Brady stepped in and never gave the job up. He led the Patriots to their first ever Super Bowl win in a shocker over the highly favored St. Louis Rams, 20-17.
The combo of Belichick and Brady commenced a run of domination over the league, winning the AFC East an unprecedented 17 times in a 19 year period. They appeared in the Super Bowl 9 times between 2002-2018 and won the game in 6 of those appearances.
We’ve Got Controversy
The only thing that has threatened to dampen the glow of consistent winning by the Patriots is a string of controversies that have led some to question whether or not they always play by the rules. In 2007, the “SpyGate” scandal rocked the league as a Patriots video assistant was caught filming the Jets sideline signals during a regular season game. Belichick was fined $50,000, the team was docked $250,000 and lost a first round draft pick.
In 2014, there were allegations of falsified injury reports. Later that year, the “DeflateGate” scandal became a huge story as the footballs used by Brady in the AFC championship game, won by New England 45-7, were found to be under-inflated. A league investigation led to Brady being suspended 4 games, and the team being fined $1 million and docked two draft picks.
Don’t Forget About Us
Because of the size of Brady’s shadow, the other top players in the history of the organization often get overlooked. In the Brady era, Rob Gronkowski was an elite player at the tight end position, making 5 Pro Bowls and leading the league in receiving touchdowns in 2011. John Hannah, who was with the team in the 70’s and 80’s, was one of the best offensive linemen in league history. Andre Tippett racked up 100 career sacks for New England and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
After 9 Super Bowl appearances together, Brady and Belichick parted ways in 2020. Brady left as a free agent to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he took over as the starting QB at age 43. Belichick remains the Head Coach in New England. He replaced Brady by signing Cam Newton to a free agent deal just weeks before the start of the 2020 season. Both are attempting to find their way back to another Super Bowl without the other, but no matter where their careers go from here, it’s hard to imagine another coach-quarterback pairing ever finding more success.
New England Patriots Betting Preview
In 2019, the New England Patriots remained the team to beat in the AFC East. The Patriots won 5 out of 6 games against their division rivals and finished the year with a total of 12 wins.
That was good enough to make it to the postseason, but New England – and the rest of the football world – was surprised by the fight the Tennessee Titans put up in the playoff matchup.
The Titans won that game 20-13, sending the Patriots home early.
That led New England to a very interesting offseason.
Key Moves for the New England Patriots During the 2020 Offseason
During the 2020 NFL Draft, the Patriots went heavy on defense early.
New England drafted safety Kyle Dugger and outside linebacker Josh Uche in Round 2, outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings in Round 3, and linebacker Cassh Maluia in Round 6.
With the loss of Rob Gronkowski, New England tried to stitch together a tight end committee in 2019 with Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo, and Eric Tomlinson.
That wasn’t enough last year.
It’s still going to be difficult to find a replacement for one of the most athletic tight ends to play the game, but the Patriots drafted 2 promising rookies in Round 3 who could develop into playmakers: Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.
In 12 games with UCLA in 2019, Asiasi hauled in 44 receptions for 641 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. Keene was limited in his production at Virginia Tech in 2019 with 21 catches for 240 yards, but he will still serve as a huge red-zone target at 6-foot-4, 251 pounds.
During the offseason, the Patriots made even more moves to improve the defense, signing defensive tackle Beau Allen, safety Adrian Phillips, linebacker Brandon Copeland, and safety Cody Davis.
Quarterback Brian Hoyer found his way back to New England from the Indianapolis Colts, and Cam Newton signed a one-year deal on June 28.
Of course, the biggest loss for New England was Tom Brady. After 285 games, 219 wins, and 541 touchdown passes as member of the Patriots, Brady is now the starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, linebacker Elandon Roberts, center Ted Karras, defensive tackle Danny Shelton, linebacker Jamie Collins, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy will also play for different teams in 2020.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the most important players on the Patriots for the 2020 season.
Cam Newton 2020 New England Patriots Profile
Newton has been one of the most prolific dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, with his 2015 season serving as the best example of the explosiveness he brings to the table.
In 2015, he threw 35 touchdown passes and rushed for 636 yards. He also recorded 10 rushing touchdowns.
Since then, injuries have held him back from topping those numbers, and the 31-year old quarterback only appeared in 2 games in 2019 with the Carolina Panthers.
Newton insists now that he is healthy and ready to go, and he will have a one-year deal to prove it.
If he falters, Jarret Stidham is waiting for his chance to lead the team.
Julian Edelman 2020 New England Patriots Profile
Edelman is a seasoned veteran, as he’s played for New England since 2009.
With injury problems plaguing the offense last year, Brady zoned in on Edelman, targeting him 153 times. The 34-year old receiver turned those 153 targets into 100 receptions, 1,117 receiving yards, and 6 touchdown catches.
This season, with N’Keal Harry healthy, those targets may drop slightly.
However, Edelman knows the offense better than anyone, and Newton will likely rely on him heavily as the most experienced receiver on the team.
Sony Michel 2020 New England Patriots Profile
Head Coach Bill Belichick has been a fan of using a committee at the running back position, and he may have to ride the hot hand more than ever if Michel struggles after having foot surgery in the offseason.
When he’s on the field, Michel is efficient, rushing for more than 900 yards in each of the past two seasons.
But this year, he has more competition with Lamar Miller, Damien Harris, James White, and Rex Burkhead all on the roster and wanting to touch the ball.
Michel also isn’t known as a great pass-catching back, with only 19 total receptions since entering the league in 2018.
For his 2020 outlook, don’t expect anything more from Michel than what he has produced in the past two seasons.
New England Patriots Betting Preview
Even with the loss of Brady, the Patriots could still have a strong season this year. According to odds from FanDuel, the Patriots are expected to win nine games.
In comparison, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also expected to win nine games.
The Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs are expected to be the top teams this year, each with projected win totals of 11.5.
New England Patriots Odds to Win the Division for the 2020/2021 Season
Like in previous years, the Patriots (+115) are still expected to win their division, even without Brady.
The Buffalo Bills (+125) aren’t too far behind, with quarterback Josh Allen expected to take a step forward in his third year in the league. Buffalo has also built a strong rushing attack with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss.
The Miami Dolphins (+850) and New York Jets (+850) are not considered serious contenders to win the AFC East in 2020.
New England Patriots Odds to Win the Super Bowl for the 2020/2021 Season
In an interesting twist of fate, Tampa Bay (+1500) has better odds to win the Super Bowl than the Patriots (+2100).
The Baltimore Ravens (+650) and Kansas City Chiefs (+650) are the favorites to win it all this year, with the San Francisco 49ers (+900), New Orleans Saints (+1200), Dallas Cowboys (+1500), Philadelphia Eagles (+2000), and Seattle Seahawks (+2000) all favored ahead of New England to win the 2020 Super Bowl.