The Patriots expect to be Super Bowl contenders, but here are five interesting predictions on how New England’s season will actually go.
There’s been a lot of drama in New England this preseason about who is and isn’t showing up for the team’s voluntary workouts. Once the season begins, no one is going to remember how many days of practice Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski missed. Patriots fans will only be concerned with how many games of playoff action they can secure.
Most pundits and fans expect the Patriots to be serious Super Bowl contenders once again. It must be said the team has lost a fair amount of talent this summer though. Nate Solder bolted for a big money deal with the Giants. Dion Lewis took his talents to the Titans. Malcolm Butler. Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola have found new teams as well. Despite all that roster turnover, the Patriots still have a roster with plenty of talent to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
All of the roster change just means Bill Belichick will have to work his magic on some new players. That means some relatively unknown players are going to have to step up. We start our bold predictions by calling for a big season from one of New England’s new defenders.
5. Adrian Clayborn will notch 12 sacks
The former Falcons defensive end might be the Patriots’ most important signing of the summer. Getting a player coming off a 9.5-sack season for just $10 million over two years is great business.
Clayborn immediately becomes the team’s most accomplished pass rusher. Belichick will base a significant portion of his defensive scheme around securing favorable matchups for his new defensive end. Don’t be surprised to see Clayborn line up all over the field on obvious passing downs.
The end result is going to be a career year for Clayborn. He just missed double-digits sacks in 2017, but he’s going to hit the mark this year. Look for the talented pass rusher to finish with at least 12 sacks for Belichick’s aggressive defense.