Nobody really knows what the New England Patriots are going to look like this season.
Tom Brady is gone, as are a number of key contributors from what was a solid defense in 2019. Jarrett Stidham projects to be the starting quarterback, and the Patriots still don’t have a ton of high-end weapons for him.
Some have predicted the Patriots will remain the top team in the AFC East, while others are predicting a plummet for New England. Peter King is leaning more towards the latter option.
In his weekly Football Morning in America column for NBC Sports, King revealed his league power rankings, and he had the Pats at No. 21, third in the division behind the Buffalo Bills (No. 13) and Miami Dolphins (No. 19).
Here’s some of what King wrote about the Pats.
The reviews on the 133rd pick in the 2019 draft, Jarrett Stidham, are good, but the shadow of the 199th pick in 2000 will always be a long one for anyone who plays quarterback in New England. There is no book on Stidham, a tough kid who will not be afraid of the hot seat, but his goal is to keep New England in games and leave the Patriots with a decision to make on a quarterback in the 2021 draft. Whatever happens, America will be watching: Four of their final nine games will be in prime time. I think this season breaks the Patriots’ 11-year stranglehold on the AFC East, but I’m pretty sure everyone in that building wants to rub our faces in such predictions, and that’s a great motivator.
As for Brady’s new team, the Buccaneers, King has Tampa Bay ranked fifth.