The New England Patriots’ bold predictions in ’21 reunion … for better or worse – NFL Nation

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

1. Crystal ball: Bold prediction. Two words that often return to haunt a beat reporter.

But it’s also part of the fun. After all, what’s a bold prediction if it’s not revisited?

The Patriots (10-6) visit the Miami Dolphins (8-8) in the regular season finale on Sunday (16:25 ET, CBS), and will then look forward to the playoffs, making it timely to look back on some bold 2021 predictions , who hit the target, and some who missed (sometimes very) badly.

feb. 11: Jimmy Garoppolo becomes the Patriots’ quarterback. Not the best start here. If the 49ers’ bid price had been more modest, things might have developed differently.

July 6: N’Keal Harry is on the list bubble. The 2019 election in the first round, whose agent at one point requested a trade, ended up having a solid training camp and was never in danger of not getting on the team. However, he can be now.

aug. 4: Sony Michel will be swapped for a relegated team. Michel was sent to the Los Angeles Rams, so in the best Troy Brown imitation, “Bingo! I got bingo!”



Dan Orlovsky and Ryan Clark go back and forth about who will win the Rookie of the Year between Ja’Marr Chase and Mac Jones.

September 6: Mac Jones wins this year’s offensive rookie. Bengal receiver Ja’Marr Chase is the current favorite ahead of Jones, but like many of Mac’s passes, this was surprisingly accurate. A strong Week 18 from Jones could tip the needle back in his favor.

October 29: Jakobi Meyers will reach his first TD pass in his career. False start! A Halloween Day TD against the Chargers seemed like a nice Hollywood script, but it was not until two weeks later, on November 14 against the Browns, that Meyers achieved the feat.

November 7: Stephon Gilmore wants an interception against the Patriots. Judges can judge that this falls outside the category of “bold”, so we go to the top here. Gilmore got the choice, but one wonders if he regrets his choice to play elsewhere for the same salary he earned in New England.

December 6: Nick Folk will have his field goal streak from less than 50 yards broken in challenging Buffalo weather conditions. This was a bad miss – something People rarely have. Sorry I’ve ever doubted you, Nick.

To complete the circle, this week’s bold prediction: Crimson Tide-on-Crimson Tide crime with Christian Barmore registering a firing against Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa.

2. The future of Dmac: The end of a regular season often calls into question the future of players, and longtime Patriots safety Devin McCourty’s plans are interesting given the combination of age (32), elite management (10-time captain) and contract status (free agent). As most players do, McCourty expects to assess his situation after the season, but I sense no indication that he is considering retiring at this point. It would be a surprise if he does not play, whether it is in New England or elsewhere.

Godchaux’s playoff hunger: Linebacker Kyle Van Noy has been an important part of two Patriots Super Bowl championship teams, so he knows all about deep playoff runs. After winning a spot after last week’s season, Van Noy stressed that the Patriots’ focus is still on finishing the regular season strongly, but he also shared how excited he is for veterans experiencing the playoffs for the first time – like to start a defensive tackle Davon Godchaux (fifth year) and reserve Carl Davis (seventh year). Godchaux, who spent the first four years of his career with the Dolphins, said: “It’s Miami this week, but I’m so excited about the playoffs.”

Opponents in ’22: Sunday’s results will strengthen two more of the Patriots’ 2022 opponents as they host the AFC South, who finish in the same spot in the standings, and visit the AFC West team, who finish in the same spot in the standings.

Odds favor the Patriots finishing second in the AFC East, which would add the Colts to next year’s home ground, and lock in a visit to the winner of Sunday night’s Raiders-Chargers game (a trip to Vegas would be a big draw for fans) .

If the Patriots jump the Bills to first place, it would add the Titans to the home field and a visit to the Chiefs.

  • Home: Ravens, Bengals, bears, lions, bills, dolphins, jets, AFCS

  • Gone: Browns, Steelers, Packers, Vikings, Bills, Dolphins, Jets, AFCW, NFCW teams to be determined

5. Mac on the brand: Jones enters the season finale after completing 67.6% of his passes, which is the second-highest percentage in the Patriots’ history (minimum 200 attempts), and only behind the 68.9% sent by Tom Brady in his magical 2007- season. The level of difficulty in the passes Brady threw that season was generally greater than what Jones has attempted this season, but Jones’ shooting ability is nonetheless impressive. If he has an accurate performance on Sunday, Jones could pass Dak Prescott (67.8%) for the best completion rate of a rookie in NFL history.

6. Timely completion: The Patriots’ 5-10 blowout of the Jaguars last week ended in a neat 2 hours, 47 minutes, the team’s fastest game of the season. The two longest games of the season: 3:25 in the overtime loss to Dallas and 3:17 against the Brady’s Buccaneers.

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

Last season, the Patriots played four games at 2:47 or faster, in part because of their reliance on the running game. But from 2010 to 2019, when they aired it with Brady & Co., they only played two games during the time period that was 2:47 or faster.

7. Andrews’ streak broken: Last Sunday’s crooked win over the Jaguars gave starting center David Andrews the opportunity to rest his injured shoulder in the fourth quarter, breaking his streak as the only Patriot to play all of the offensive snaps this season. Andrews is at 98.8%, which is still the highest number of all Patriots offensive players, followed by Jones (96.1%), left tackle Isaiah Wynn (86.9%), right guard Shaq Mason (85.7% ), Meyers (84.3%), guard Ted Karras (74.6%) and tight-end Hunter Henry (67.8%).

8. Kraft-y decision: Former Buccaneers receiver Antonio Brown, who publicly turned on Brady and personal trainer Alex Guerrero last week, was shocked as it was Brady who fought for Brown over the past three years, opening the doors to his own home to bid him welcome to New England. Brown lasted only 11 days in New England, and owner Robert Kraft took plenty of warmth to step in to discard him, especially from Brown himself. What became clearer than ever last week was that Kraft was right in that decision.

9. Mayos market: Things usually go fast with the NFL’s head coach carousel after the end of the regular season. While the Patriots will be busy preparing for the playoffs, it would be a surprise if more vacancies did not reach out to ask permission to speak with New England defense assistant Jerod Mayo, whose profile appears to be rising around the NFL. The jobs of the Jaguars and Raiders are already open, while teams like the Bears, Broncos and Vikings are keeping an eye on.

10a. Did you know, Part I: Tagovailoa is 2-0 against the Patriots, and if he helps Miami win on Sunday, he will be just the sixth quarterback to have won his first three starts against Belichick. The others are John Elway, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Brees, Jake Plummer and Jay Fiedler.

10b. Did you know, Part II: Including the playoffs, the Patriots are only 16-14 against Belichick’s former assistant coaches since 2000. That includes a 2-3 mark against Brian Flores-led Dolphins.


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