Football Is Back
Finally, football season is upon us. Well, kind of. The Patriots hosted the Jacksonville Jaguars for a few joint practices this week at Gillette and they will square off Thursday night in their first pre season game. The game itself will probably be very boring as Tom Brady, Gronk and Brandin Cooks are all not expected to play, but it will still be a great opportunity to be able to see this team for the first time this season and see the new faces.
Can The Patriots Go Undefeated?
As the first game of the regular season draws closer, we need to address this one topic that is being thrown around. Can the Patriots really go undefeated this season? I don’t need to remind you that the powerhouse that was the 2007 Patriots were undefeated right until the very end, but with the addition of Cooks (this teams Randy Moss) the comparisons are flying about. The easy answer to this question is yes. The smart and logical answer is no. Here’s why. This team is 100% capable of going undefeated this season on paper. On paper is always different than actually on the field however. But, they certainly have the fire power. If you were to go through each match up you would not find the Patriots being the underdog in any game this season at all.
A Championship Team Improved
Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft took a Super Bowl winning team that went 14-2 in the regular season (3-1 without Tom Brady) and made them better, It’s not often that a championship team comes back stronger the next season. For every player that was lost, the Patriots seemed to upgrade. Out goes Logan Ryan, in comes Stephon Gilmore. Out goes Lagarrette Blount in comes Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee. Both of them might not be better individually than Blount, but the flexibility they offer certainly is. Especially when you pair them with Super Bowl MVP runner up James White and the explosive Dion Lewis. Also, don’t forget the Patriots are 17-0 when Dion Lewis plays, just saying.
The Offense: Could It Reinvent The NFL…Again?
The ample supply of running backs the Pats are carrying this season is going to allow them to reinvent the NFL just like they did in 2007. The NFL is a pass first league with a heavy reliance on the slot receivers because of that team and the success they had. This season, we could see the Patriots change the NFL once again.
We are used to running backs by committee with this team, but nothing like this. Belichick clearly has a plan, but we have no idea what that plan is. He could do anything he wants. There is a strong possibility that he comes out with some new formation that features four running backs, whether in the backfield or out wide. Regardless, Belichick is going to have some fun with his stockpile of RB’s, defenses are just going to have to watch the game film the next day to find out how it beat them and then copy it.
The addition of Brandin Cooks adds in a dynamic deep threat the likes we haven’t seen since Randy Moss was in town. The plays and catches he is making already in camp is spectacular.
— Binge Sports (@BingeSports) August 8, 2017
— Binge Sports (@BingeSports) August 8, 2017
— Evan Singleton (@EvGuyBoston) August 7, 2017
— Brent Williams (@BJWilliams4) July 30, 2017
I could go on and on with the catches Cooks has had in camp so far, but I’m sure we’ll get used to this really soon. The best part is that the defenses won’t be able to put all their attention on him because of the guys like Edelman, Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell who really broke out at the end of last season.
And Of course, we still have the GOAT in Tom Brady.
In my mind, this 2017 Patriots team’s offense could rival that of 2007 or even be better, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Regardless, expect a lot of points on that scoreboard every Sunday.
So what about the defense? We discussed how the addition of adding Gilmore is an upgrade, but now you pair him with Malcolm Butler and you suddenly have a duo that rivals the 2015 duo of Browner and Revis. Add is DE Kony Ealy and you have another nice piece. Who thought getting rid of Chandler Jones and Jaime Collins would pay off in the end? Not many, and pay off it did in the name of Stephon Gilmore. We do not get him if we have to pay those guys and getting rid of them allowed us to keep Hightower, the most important of those three guys.
The biggest question now facing this defense is who is going to fill the shoes of the retired Rob Ninkovich? His presence on the edge was not talked about much, but it was certainly felt. Ealy could fill that spot, but he needs to get his head on straight and buy in.
The Bottom Line Regarding 19-0
Both the offense and the defense have certainly improved making 19-0 an extremely realistic possibility, the only barrier is health and those one or two games a year where all goes wrong. The Patriots won it all last season without a healthy Gronk and to go undefeated this year, they certainly need a healthy Gronk, not to mention Edelman, Brady and basically most of the defense. So there is that.
Also, there is always those one or two games where the Patriots just flop. We saw it against the Eagles a few seasons ago and against the Bills in the third game of the year last season. No, Brady did not play that game, but nothing went right in that game regardless. There is always a couple games a year where that happens and the Pats needs to do their best to stay away from those and if they do that, they can certainly go undefeated.
A lot of cities in the NFL are talking about whether their team will make the playoffs this season and here we are talking about if the Patriots will go undefeated. Man, it’s good to be a Patriots fan.
I will be at the Pats pre season game tomorrow so make sure to follow @BSR_Official and @BSRManko on Twitter for live updates pictures and videos. And while you’re at is, @BSR_Official_ on Instagram as well!