NFL: 2 Bold Predictions for the New England Patriots in 2016
Formed in 1959, the New England Patriots were a charter member of the American Football League and joined the NFL after the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The team currently plays in the American Football Conference’s East Division.
The New England Patriots have been one of the most dominant football teams in the US since the turn of the century. Under the leadership of Head Coach Bill Belichick and star quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots have made a record six Super Bowl appearances since 2000 and have won a record four NFL titles.
In lieu of the start of the 2016 season, we are going to make two bold predictions regarding the Patriots, based on how things have been shaping up in the recent weeks. All eyes will be on New England this season, considering that this is their first post-deflategate season. However, we are confident that our predictions will hold true once the season ends.
Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett combine for 20 scores
The start of the 2016 season will be very crucial for the Patriots. The dust has settled down after the deflategate saga and Patriots’ star man, Tom Brady has been given a four game suspension. Regardless of which side of the fence you are on in reference to the deflategate debate, it cannot be denied that Brady’s absence will make the Patriots’ passing game significantly weaker. With their passing game in jeopardy, it seems very likely that the team will focus on a more direct running game. In that scenario, Ron Gronkowski and Martellus Bennet will be instrumental for their chances for success.
The two tight ends are pretty solid in-line blockers and will be expected to score plenty of touchdowns for the Patriots till Brady comes back. Well considering their current forms and last season’s statistics, we predict that both of them will combine on the field to score at least 20 touchdowns over the course of the 2016 season.
The onus will also be on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to ensure the two tight ends have the service they require to score those touchdowns. However, once Brady comes back into the fold in week five, they will go on to score plenty more touchdowns over the course of the season.
Tom Brady to top 4,000 yards in 12 games
When sports historians look back on the history of the NFL a few years down the road, they will consider the New England Patriots as the most consistent and successful teams of this era. In the last fifteen years, the team has reached the playoffs thirteen times, played in six Super Bowls and won four of them. One of the main reasons for that success has been Tom Brady.
The quarterback has always been very influential and his absence in the first four games of the season will be keenly felt. However, we predict that once Brady comes back, he will still pass more than 4,000 yards in the remaining twelve games of the season. This is a bold prediction, no doubt, but Brady’s numbers from last season more than justify this claim.
Passing 4,000 yards in twelve games means he has to pass an average of 333.3 yards every game. However, in 2015, Brady did just that. His total for last season was 4,770 yards and he passed more than 333 yards in five games. He also dominated the Bills by passing for 466 yards against them. So Brady is more than capable of reaching those enormous numbers on a consistent basis. We also have to keep in mind that last season the Patriots had to deal with multiple injuries, which meant they were without their best players at certain points, leading Brady to adjust his game at times.
This season, however, the Patriots should be back to full strength, with certain important players coming back. The most important one amongst them will be running back Dion Lewis. Lewis played just seven games last year before suffering an ACL injury, which sidelined him for the rest of the season. However, in those seven games he caught 36 passes, rushed 388 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. Lewis’ return could very well be the missing piece of the jigsaw for the Patriots offense, especially for Tom Brady, who could cross the 4,000 yard mark again this season.