The New England missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 last season, going 7-9 without quarterback Tom Brady. It was also the Patriots first losing season since 2000, as New England had previously been known as the class of the NFL for more than a decade.
QB Cam Newton threw more interceptions than touchdowns in 2020-2021, and veteran slot receiver Julian Edelman retired following the season after struggling to stay healthy and appearing in only six games.
The Patriots went 7-9 against the spread last season, which was the first time since 2002 that they finished under .500 against the number. When it came to the over/under, New England only covered the over five times.
In the 2021 NFL Draft, the Patriots used their first two selections on Alabama products, taking QB Mac Jones and defensive lineman Christian Barmore. Jones is expected to be the future face of New England, as the two-time National Champion led the Crimson Tide put up video game numbers in the SEC last year and was named a Heisman Finalist. Between Newton and Jones, there’s been no concrete report on who will start Week 1 of the regular season against Miami.
Bill Belichick and the Pats really improved their roster in free agency, spending a ton of money for a team that has notoriously had a history of doing the opposite. Tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith were added to give Cam Newton better weapons, and edge rushers Kyle Van Noy and Matt Judon were signed as well. Van Noy has already had a four-year stint with the Pats, and was a part of two Super Bowl teams under Belichick.
Left tackle Trent Brown agreed to terms on a deal with New England in the offseason, and wide receiver Nelson Agholor joined the Pats as well. Agholor has been well-known for dropping balls in the past, but is coming off a highly successful campaign in Las Vegas where he tallied nearly 900 yards through the air. Safety Jalen Mills and receiver Kendrick Bourne are also new members of the Pats.
Players that departed Foxborough include left guard Joe Thuney, right tackle Marcus Cannon, corner Jason McCourty, and outside linebacker John Simon.
Action 247 Sportsbook has the Patriots over/under for wins this season set at 9.5. Minnesota has the second best odds to win the AFC East at +300 behind Buffalo, and are listed at +2900 to win Super Bowl 56.