By: Jake Mackey
The New England Patriots right now are without a doubt at the top the totem pole of professional sports franchises. For a long-time it was the Yankees, the Bulls, then the Lakers. For a time in between 2009-2012 it seemed as if the Patriots were just the San Diego Chargers. Meaning they were a great regular season team, who always fails to finish the job come January. Two championships later and all thoughts of that have been erased from my mind. In addition, the Patriots roster for the upcoming season is looking as stacked as ever.
What is the first weakness you can think of on the Patriots? For me it is depth at linebacker. With that being said, they have one of the best in the game at Dont’a Hightower leading the pack and they were able to manage with Elandon Roberts and Kyle Van Noy last season. My point is that you have to dig fairly deep in order to find a weakness on the Patriots roster.
This past week Hank Gargiulo of the ESPN Analytics team posted an article detailing the likelihood of each team’s success for the 2017 season. According to the article the Patriots have a 92.3 percent chance of winning the AFC East, which is no surprise especially seeing how this may be the first time in years where there has not been one person on any network uttering the scorching hot take of, “this is the year that the (insert Bills, Dolphins, or Jets) will knock of the Patriots atop the division.” The AFC East is just putrid.
Furthermore, the Patriots have a 51.1 percent chance of having the number one seed in the AFC. While this may seem obvious because it seems like the Patriots are on top of the conference every year, they have only had the number one seed in the AFC twice over the past five years and the big discussion going into last season was whether or not the Patriots would be able to lock down the number one seed to avoid going on the road like in 2015. This season I see no team right now that is a significant threat. Pittsburgh will most likely win 12 games or so, but will that be enough? I say no. I do not think that Oakland got significantly better with the addition of 31-year old Marshawn Lynch. Denver is lacking a quarterback, but their defense, particularly the secondary will forever scare me. However, not enough to say the can knock off the Patriots.
Finally, the Patriots have a 50.7 percent chance to reach the Super Bowl and a 34.7 percent chance to win it. Those are both the highest out of any team in the league. Things right now just keep turning up Patriots and for some reason it is making me quite nervous. Call it the pessimist in me but I am forever scared by the 2007 Patriots. That team was never really tested the whole season and that lead them to run out of gas by December. Same thing with the Patriots in 2015, by December they were dropping games against teams like the Eagles and the Jets.
Add to all this the fact that Tom Brady is on the cover of Madden and Kansas City is coming to Foxborough on opening night (we all know what happen last time they did) and there is nervousness in me as a Patriots fan. There needs to be some question marks, they need to be punched in the mouth and face adversity. That’s how great teams are built. However, that can’t happen until the season begins, so for now I just suggest you be a bit cautious when booking your ticket to Minnesota because as Mark Cuban once said, “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”. Don’t be the hog Patriots fans.