New England Patriots make bold predictions for ’21…for better or worse

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. Quick thoughts and notes about the New England Patriots & NFL

1. Crystal ball: Bold prediction.These are two words that can often haunt beat reporters.

But that’s part of what makes it so much fun. It’s not possible to make bold predictions if they aren’t reexamined.

The regular-season finale of the Patriots (10-6), will be played on Sunday (4:25 PM). ET, CBS), then we will move on to the playoffs. We’ll be looking back at bold 2021 predictions, as well as those that fell short.

Feb. 11: The Patriots’ quarterback will be Jimmy Garoppolo.This is not the worst start. Perhaps things would have turned out differently if the 49ers had asked for a lower asking price.

July 6: N’Keal Harry has been added to the roster bubble.He was a 2019 first-round selection, and his agent requested a trade at one point. However, he had a great training camp and was never in danger of not making it to the team. However, he might not be here now.

Aug. 4: Sony Michel will move to a running-back-needy team.Michel was shipped by Troy Brown to the Los Angeles Rams.Bingo! Bingo!

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Ryan Clark and Dan Orlovsky argue about who should win Rookie-of-the-Year between Ja’Marr Chase & Mac Jones.

Sept. 6: Mac Jones will win Offensive rookie of the year.Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals receiver, is currently the favorite ahead of Jones. However, like many Mac’s passes this was surprising accurate. Jones’ strong Week 18 could help tilt the balance in Jones’ favor.

Oct. 29: Jakobi Meyers will make his first career TD catch.False beginning! Meyers did it!

Nov. 7: Stephon Gilmore is expected to make an interception against Patriots.This might be ruled out by judges as being too bold. We’re sticking to the line. Gilmore was selected, but it is possible that he regrets not choosing to play elsewhere for the same salary as he earned in New England.

Dec. 6: Nick Folk will see his streak of field goals within 50 yards break in tough Buffalo weather conditions.This was a poor miss — something Folk rarely does. Nick, I’m sorry to have ever doubted your abilities.

Complete the circle with this bold prediction: Crimson Tide – on Crimson Tide crime. Christian Barmore registered a sack for Dolphins QB Tua Tabovailoa.

2. DMac’s future:There are many questions that arise after the conclusion of a regular season. Long-time Patriots safety Devin McCourty’s plans for the future are interesting due to his combination of age (32), elite leader (10-time captain), and contract status (free agent). McCourty will assess his situation following the season as most players do. However, I don’t see any indication that McCourty is considering retiring. McCourty would not be surprised if he was not playing, in New England or elsewhere.

3. Godchaux’s playoff hungerKyle Van Noy is a linebacker who has played a major role in two Patriots Super Bowl winning teams. He also knows a lot about playoff runs. Van Noy shared his excitement about veterans who are making their way to the playoffs, like Davon Godchaux (starting defensive tackle) and reserve Carl Davis (7th year). Godchaux, who played the first four seasons of his career with Miami Dolphins, stated: “It’s Miami this week but I’m so excited for playoffs.”

4. Opponents in 22:Sunday’s results will cement two more Patriots’ 2022 rivals. The Patriots will host an AFC South foe and visit the AFC West team finishing in the same place in the standings.

Odds favor that the Patriots finish second in the AFC East. That would add the Colts onto next year’s home slate and guarantee a visit at the winner of Sunday’s Raiders/Chargers game. Fans would also be very excited about a trip to Vegas.

If the Patriots can leapfrog Bills into first, it will add the Titans and visit the Chiefs to its home schedule.

  • Home: Ravens, Bengals, Bears, Lions, Bills, Dolphins, Jets, AFCS

  • Away:Browns, Steelers and Packers, Bills. Vikings. Dolphins. Jets. AFCW, NFCW team to determined

5. Mac on the markJones will enter the season finale with 67.6% completed. This is second in Patriots history (minimum 200 passes), behind only the 68.9% recorded by Tom Brady in 2007. Jones’s accuracy and marksmanship are impressive despite the difficulty of the passes Brady threw in that season. Jones will pass Dak Prescott (67.8%), if he puts in a good performance Sunday. This would be the highest completion percentage for a rookie in NFL History.

6. Timely conclusion:The Patriots’ win over the Jaguars 50-10 last week was completed in 2 hours 47 minutes. It was the team’s fastest game of the season. The overtime loss to Dallas was 3:25, while Brady’s Buccaneers were 3:17.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the 2:47 tied with Chargers-Eagles (Nov. 7) for the fifth-fastest game in the NFL this season, behind Broncos-Raiders (2:32, Dec. 26), Lions-Falcons (2:41, Dec. 26), 49ers-Jaguars (2:45, Nov. 21) and Eagles-Washington (2:46, Jan. 2)

The Patriots’ running game meant that they played four games last season at 2:47 or less. But from 2010 to 2019, when they were airing it out with Brady & Co., they played just two games during that span that were 2:47 or quicker.

7. Andrews’ streak broken:After Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, starting center David Andrews was able to rest his injured shoulder during the fourth quarter. This ended Andrews’ streak of being the only Patriot to have played every offensive snap this season. Andrews currently stands at 98.8%. This is still the highest offensive total for any Patriots player. Jones (96.1%), left guard Isaiah Wynn (886.9%), Meyers (85.7%), guard Ted Karras (74.6%), and tight end Hunter Henry (66.7%) are next.

8. Kraft-y decision:It was shocking that former Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown turned on Alex Guerrero and Brady last week. Brady was the one who had championed Brown for the past three seasons, opening his home to him in New England to welcome him. Brown only lasted 11 days in New England. Kraft, Brown’s owner, was criticized for his decision to throw him out, particularly from Brown. Last week, Kraft’s decision was proven correct.

9. Mayo’s market:The NFL’s head coaching carousel usually moves quickly after the end of the regular season. While the Patriots are busy with preparations for the playoffs it would not surprise if several teams with vacant positions reached out to Jerod Mayo, the New England defensive assistant, who seems to be rising in the NFL. Jaguars and Raiders positions are open while Broncos, Bears, and Vikings teams bear watching.

10a. Part I: Did you know?Tagovailoa is currently 2-0 against Patriots. He will become the sixth quarterback to win three consecutive starts against Belichick if he leads Miami to victory Sunday. John Elway and Vinny testaverde are the others.

10b. 10b.Belichick’s former assistant coach since 2000 has been 16-14 for the Patriots, not counting the playoffs. This includes a 2 to 3 record against Brian Flores’-led Dolphins.