The New England Patriots are coming off a Super Bowl championship, but how will they fare in 2017 with their new schedule?
The New England Patriots started out the 2016 NFL Season without their star quarterback. They finished it with perhaps the greatest comeback of all time, earning themselves their fifth Lombardi Trophy in 15 years.
Tom Brady and Co. earned their usual accolades as well. AFC East champions? Check. Best record in the NFL? Check. In fact, at 14-2, the 2016 squad tied for the second-best record in New England Patriots history.
On a unit-by-unit basis, the Patriots fielded the NFL’s fourth best offense, averaging slightly over 385 yards per game. Combine that with the league’s eighth best defense, and it’s clear why the Pats are World Champions once again.
Fast forward to 2017, and New England will be seeking its sixth Super Bowl victory, enough to tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most ever. The Patriots will once again be led by Tom Brady, whose supporting cast of playmakers remains largely unchanged.
In fact, many, including myself, would contend that Robert Kraft and the Patriots front office have surrounded Brady with a better than squad than he had in 2016. The addition of Brandin Cooks gives the Pats offense the deep threat they’ve been lacking since the departure of Randy Moss.
The move seems slightly reminiscent of the 2014 signing of Darelle Revis. However, Gilmore is younger and can strengthen the Patriots secondary for years to come. The move fit the overall trend of the offseason. New England seemed to be maximizing the last few years of Brady’s stellar career.
The road for a Super Bowl champion in their defense is never easy, and that stands to reason for the Patriots. As if they didn’t already have on a target on their backs before, it’s glaring and blinking now.