Optimistic, pessimistic and realistic projections for 2020 Patriots

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E
By WEEI 93.7

Win, loss, win, win, loss — that is what many do when they get their hands on the NFL schedule to try and predict how a given team will do the following season.

Given it’s only May and teams haven’t even met in person yet this year, it’s incredibly hard to say how things will go come the fall.

So, we decided to give three different predictions for the Patriots in 2020 — optimistic, pessimistic and realistic -- to try and account for everything that could happen between now and when the games begin, and even during the season.

Optimistic: 11-5

Yes, a lot of things have to go right for this to happen, but this is why it is the optimistic view. This is if Jarrett Stidham has a solid first year as the starting quarterback, N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers make big Year 1 to Year 2 jumps and the defense doesn’t see a major drop off after losing several impact players last offseason. It also accounts for the Jets and Dolphins not improving much from a year ago and the Bills not running away with the AFC East. Even if things go close to perfect, it’s going to be tough to beat teams like the Ravens, Chiefs, 49ers, etc., but if games against the Texans, Rams, Chargers go the Patriots’ way and they take care of business in the games they should win, 11-5 is possible.

Pessimistic: 5-11

This scenario has things not going according to plan at all — Stidham becoming overwhelmed as a NFL starter and perhaps needing to turn things over to Brian Hoyer, no one taking a step up from 2019 on offense, the defense really missing Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, etc. and the division being better than expected. New England has a tough stretch late in the year with four road games in five weeks, including two on the West Coast and another in Miami. It’s very tough to win games on the road in the NFL and if things really start to spiral out of control, it’s quite possible they could lose those road games and then a really bad season is certainly in the cards.

Realistic: 9-7

Some things are going to go better than expected and other things are going to go worse than expected -- that is how things go in not only the NFL, but in life in general. The Patriots are not going to be what they have been in the past, but they are not going to completely fall off the map. Expect the Patriots to compete with the Bills for the AFC East title, win the majority of the games they are supposed to and maybe steal a win here or there that wasn’t predicted. While New England isn’t going to be one of the top teams in the AFC for the first time in quite awhile, they are still good enough to compete for a playoff spot, especially given the seventh team being added this year.

And just because everyone else is doing it…

Vs. Dolphins – W

At Seahawks – L

Vs. Raiders – W

At Chiefs – L

Vs. Broncos – W

Bye

Vs. 49ers – L

At Bills – L

At Jets – W

Vs. Ravens – L

At Texans – W

Vs. Cardinals – W

At Chargers – W

At Rams – L

At Dolphins – W

Vs. Bills – W

Vs. Jets – W

My very early prediction has the Patriots finishing 10-6, much better than Andy Hart’s 7-9.