What Demise? Five Reasons Patriots Still Good Bet In AFC In 2022

The Patriots' win total is set at 8.5

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As somebody who just moved to this New England area, I’m already shocked to see the national narrative about the demise of the Patriots and Bill Belichick. I’ve even heard some Pats fans buy into this nonsense.

Not only do I vehemently disagree but here are five reasons why you should think twice before betting against Belichick and company.

BILL BELICHICK
Yes, the AFC is loaded. Just within the AFC East, the Bills were seconds away from an AFC Championship Game berth, while the Dolphins put so many weapons around Tua Tagovailoa that he has no excuses left and must play well. Meanwhile, the Jets continue to be aggressive in a rebuild.

Other AFC teams like the Broncos, Bengals, Raiders, Chargers, Browns and Colts all made big splashes in the offseason to improve. Not to mention, you still have the mainstays who will be a factor as always like the Ravens, Titans and Steelers. I would argue, however, that the Patriots are in that mainstay category as long as Belichick is calling the shots. This isn’t his first time dealing with a stacked deck in the AFC. He did it for years against Peyton Manning’s Colts and Broncos. He schemed against the Killer B’s in Pittsburgh. He weathered the storm of Baltimore’s great defenses and offenses over the years. No coach in the history of this game has shown the propensity to creatively stifle multiple offenses like Belichick. Couple that with countless big game wins and playoff experience, and the steady hand of Belichick can never be dismissed.

MAC JONES
What is it that people have against Jones?. He was a rookie who was asked to manage every game he started. He made all 17 starts and was statistically solid though not spectacular.

Quarterbacks like Tom Brady don’t grow on trees, but you can clearly see some early parallels. Brady was also a game manager early in his Patriots career. He earned his stripes by making the clutch plays to win big games. Another similarity is that Jones has committed to his body. Jones looked svelte this spring while working out with Patriots receivers. One of those premier targets was the newly acquired DeVante Parker. If Jones and Parker can form chemistry and connection, the offense would dramatically improve. While the drafting of guard Cole Strange in the first round was met with skepticism, it still shows the commitment of the organization to protect their QB1 investment. Jones simply needs time to grow.

OFFSEASON SPLASH HISTORY
This has been the busiest, most dramatic and shocking offseason in NFL history. Only time will tell if it’s the most impactful. History suggests that it won’t be. Offseason splashes don’t always equal regular-season success. Look no further than last offseason for the Patriots. They spent money like never before, and so far, the ROI hasn’t come to fruition. The NFL has never produced an offseason with more guaranteed money for players, but one thing we can count on is not all these moves will guarantee success.

THE SCHEDULE
Based on every metric we’ve seen since the NFL schedules have been released, the Pats’ schedule is consistently ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of difficulty. This bodes well for the possibility of exceeding expectations this season. Outside of the Bills, there are no proven, dominant teams within the division.

After the beatdown Buffalo handed New England in January, I’m willing to bet the Patriots can split the series with the Bills because they are motivated to avenge that embarrassing loss. Outside of the AFC East, the schedule is littered with winnable games against the likes of the Bears, Lions, and Vikings. Even some of the more challenging games against the Ravens, Colts and Bengals are in Foxboro.

THE FORMULA
The age-old adage in football of running the ball effectively, not turning over the ball offensively and playing great defense can win you a ton of games has been proven true. But in this era of high-flying, pass-happy offenses, that formula probably won’t win a Super Bowl. In today’s NFL, you must be able to be dynamic and explosive offensively. I am in no way suggesting that this current iteration of the Patriots offense has those traits. However, I am suggesting that the offense can do enough to control time of possession, limit turnovers and be physical at the point of attack. If the defense holds up and does their part, the Patriots will prove a lot of the naysayers wrong this season.

The current win total for the Patriots sits at 8.5 despite winning 10 games last season. But there are clear reasons why they can be just as good this season, which makes the over attractive even at the -120 price. The Patriots begin this season with lucrative betting value.

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