There are a number of reasons for optimism regarding the Patriots in the upcoming NFL season.
That said, there seemingly is an equal amount of reasons to doubt New England’s chances of having a successful 2020 campaign.
The Patriots are set to feature one of the stronger defenses in the league this season. Cam Newton potentially could reinvigorate what was a stagnant New England offense in 2019. And, of course, arguably the greatest football coach of all time still is calling the shots in Foxboro. But there’s no guarantee we’ll see a healthy, dynamic Newton in 2020, and the Patriots also will be tasked with going through arguably the NFL’s toughest regular-season schedule.
All told, New England’s 2020 season really could go in any direction, a notion reflected in ESPN’s ceiling and floor projection for Belichick’s group. Team reporter Mike Reiss believes the Pats, at best, will go 11-5 in 2020, with a 6-10 record serving as the worst-case scenario.
Reiss thinks the biggest variable in this exercise is the Patriots’ coaching influence.
“After 19 years of excellence with the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady combination, Belichick now stands alone,” Reiss wrote for ESPN.com “Couple that with the big question of what happens at quarterback — is it Cam Newton or Jarrett Stidham? — and this has the makings of a season that will add a new layer of context to Belichick’s legacy. If the Patriots hit the ceiling, Belichick’s greatness will only be accentuated.“
The scheduled start of the Patriots’ first Brady-less season in two decades is fast approaching. New England, as of now, is set to open its 2020 slate Sept. 13 against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.