Over the past decade-plus, the Patriots have entered each season as a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
This won’t be the case for New England in the upcoming campaign.
Tom Brady no longer is under center in Foxboro, and the quarterback was just one of several key veteran departures for the Patriots this offseason. Furthermore, New England didn’t make any splashes in free agency and its draft, at least on paper, wasn’t exactly a home run.
This isn’t to say the Patriots will be abysmal in 2020, though. New England’s defense still is poised to be fairly strong, and you should never count out a Bill Belichick-coach team. So in his post-draft NFL power rankings, NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus has the Patriots in the middle of the pack at No. 15.
“I joked on Twitter that Bill Belichick traded out of the first round because he didn’t want anyone to see the inside of his house,” Hanzus wrote. “In reality, it was just the Patriots coach doing the most Belichickian thing possible — beginning their most highly scrutinized draft in ages by selecting a safety out of Division II Lenoir-Rhyne. Classic. Kyle Dugger is a very good prospect, but it speaks to the reality in New England: Tom Brady might be gone, but the fundamentals of team-building are unchanged on Patriot Way. The Pats didn’t use any of their 10 picks on a quarterback — a decision that shows faith in 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham … or hints at the impending acquisition of a known veteran. Hi, Andy Dalton.”
Of course, Dalton isn’t the only quarterback out there if the Patriots elect to go the veteran route. Cam Newton still is a free agent, and for what it’s worth, the oddsmakers like the chances of the 2015 NFL MVP ending up in Foxboro.