As Bill Belichick probably would say, we’re on to the 2020 season.
The 2019 campaign officially is in the books, as the Kansas City Chiefs became the new kings of the league Sunday night with a Super Bowl LIV win over the San Francisco 49ers. Patrick Mahomes and Co. likely will enter next season as the consensus favorites to win Super Bowl LV, but how do the other 31 teams fall in line?
ESPN on Sunday night took a swing at power ranking the league a month-plus ahead of the start of free agency. The network pegged the Patriots at No. 7 and also offered a reason for optimism in New England following a disappointing 2019 season.
“Entering his 21st season as coach, Bill Belichick has come up with answers in the past when it looked like the Patriots could be regressing, such as after a wild-card-round loss in 2009 when New England used its top two draft picks on defensive back Devin McCourty and tight end Rob Gronkowski,” Mike Reiss wrote. “The Patriots would benefit greatly from a similar type of draft this year and have some extra time to prepare after their early-round playoff exit — just like after the ’09 season.”
Belichick will have quite a bit on his plate this offseason in addition to draft preparation. The Patriots are set to see 19 players hit the open market in mid-March, including Tom Brady. New England reportedly is prepared to handsomely pay the six-time Super Bowl champion in order to keep him in town, but money doesn’t appear to be Brady’s top priority.
And if Brady ultimately signs elsewhere, New England likely will suffer a significant drop in ESPN’s rankings.