The excitement in New England understandably is high following the addition of Cam Newton, but Patriots fans might want to temper their expectations. It might be a shorter list if we wrote a paper on the Patriots weaknesses in the Revolutionary War. Today’s New England Patriots have some glaring shortcomings But the media hype is all about new quarterback Cam Newton. Pats fans might want to temper their enthusiasm while betting fans might want to rev up their bets against the Pats. Or at least be aware of what’s at stake.
The most difficult schedule in the NFL belongs to New England. They have their normal difficulty at Miami. While Brady always played well at Buffalo, the Bills will be favored to win at home. The Jets should be their 2-0 sweep. But what about their non-conference games? At Seattle, at the Chiefs, at Houston and at LA Rams. Playing Denver, San Francisco and Baltimore at home will be ultra-challenging at best.
It the past it was Brady to Gronk. Now it’s Newton to a tight end of the unknown variety. This weakness for the Patriots is not only an issue for this season but has been for the last few years. Their offense loves to use the tight end especially up the middle needing a long completion. But this weakness comes at the tight end spot and that position both in the passing game and in the rushing attack shows a gaping hole. This offseason, New England did draft a pair of tight ends in the NFL Draft with the selections of Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the middle rounds of the draft but it remains a mystery on how they factor into the offense.
Many question who are the targeted wide receivers? Although Edelman will continue to be solid as he always is and hopefully will be, that leaves little else. N'Keal Harry and others could step up even more than what they did in 2019 but that group doesn’t necessarily raise any eyebrows as being filled with talent. Who will Cam Newton look to as his favorite go-to guy? Once other teams identify him, they will game plans accordingly. Do you still like New England?
Can they excel on the defensive side of the ball? Their linebacker core indicates maybe not. I think the Pats’ most troubled position is linebacker. Behind a thin defensive line, the Pats’ linebackers are greener than the Belichicks have been used to in recent years and that is not the talent needed based on the scheduled top-notch quarterbacks they have to face. Donte Hightower is among football’s best but we always worry about injuries. It may be tough to bank on the two-time Pro Bowl selection making it through a full season healthy. Young linebackers Winovich and Bentley also have their work cut out of them as their roles are expected to expand in 2020.
So the bottom line is you now see a different picture of what’s being presented to Coach Belichick and his staff. The media has led many to believe that the only void they had was to replace Tom Brady. It’s far from that.
I would bet under 9 wins as a futures bet and additionally would be cautious on straight bets as the oddsmakers will take advantage of the love the public has for New England.
By Wayne Allyn Root