The recent signing of quarterback Cam Newton has many asking questions regarding the New England Patriots.
Pro Football Focus did their part to answer the final question as the outlet released the best- and worst-case scenarios for all NFL teams.
Best case scenario for New England? PFF notes the Patriots could finish with a 11-5 record.
How they get there: Newton not only stays healthy, but Josh McDaniels and company utilize his talent and skill set to the best of their ability. That means taking advantage of Newton’s ability as a designed runner — where he has added more expected points than any other runner, regardless of position, since 2006 — and incorporating a heavy dose of play action. If the Patriots do that and limit the effects of what has been shaky down-to-down accuracy for Newton throughout his career, they can once again challenge the top of the AFC sans Brady. Having one of the more talented secondaries and defensive play-callers in the NFL doesn’t hurt, either.
Worst case scenario? Well, PFF explained how the Patriots could finish 6-10.
How they get there: Cam Newton is injured for a significant portion of the season. A contingent of the New England faithful is firmly behind Jarrett Stidham, but the odds are stacked against him becoming a quality NFL starter. He recorded just a 57.8 PFF grade in his final season at Auburn, and the only NFL action we have to go off is an up-and-down preseason performance last season. Few mid-to-late-round quarterbacks turn out to be half of what Tom Brady was for the Patriots. If Stidham is called to start on, chances are there will be some speed bumps for New England.
Even if Newton does play a full season, a limited receiving corps and some of the losses the Patriots saw on defense this offseason (namely, Danny Shelton, Jamie Collins and Duron Harmon) could lead to a group that underwhelms in 2020.
We’re eager to see how it plays out.