These are not the New England Patriots that dominated the league for the better part of two decades. They don’t strike fear as they did when Tom Brady was still their starting quarterback. It’s not that their current roster has no talent. Instead, several AFC teams have continued improving, while the Patriots have remained in the same spot.
Likewise, handing play-calling duties to a defensive specialist will spell more trouble as the season progresses. That’s why it might not be worth backing the Patriots to make the 2023 playoffs when betting on the NFL, which would be the second time in four years the team hasn’t made the postseason. They will need help from other teams to sneak through.
The Patriots returned to the playoffs last year with rookie quarterback Mac Jones, and will be looking to Jones again this season. Meanwhile, Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson lead the attack from the backfield. The Patriots have a receiving corps featuring Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, and Nelson Agholor, joined by Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith acquired during the 2021 offseason. Trent Brown, David Andrews, and Mike Onwenu lead the protection for Jones.
The team cannot get over the hump early in the 2022 season, losing three of their first four games. Meanwhile, their only win early in the season came against a struggling Pittsburgh Steelers offense. The good news is that they returned to the playoffs last season after a one-year absence. However, they were no match for the Buffalo Bills who demonstrated the great divide between them and the Patriots.
New England has playmakers on defense like Deatrich Wise and Matthew Judon. They also have Raekwon McMillan and Ja’Whaun Bentley as their top linebackers. Their secondary features Kyle Dugger, Jalen Mills, and Devin McCourty, and they have veteran placekicker Nick Folk and punter Jake Bailey rounding out the squad.
For now, New England’s glory days are seemingly over. The current team isn’t as solid as their squads in the 2000s and 2010s that won six Super Bowls.
The Patriots were established in 1959 as a charter member of the American Football League. They played their first season in 1960 and joined the National Football League during the 1970 merger between the two leagues. The team became known as the New England Patriots after moving to Foxborough a year later.
The team had modest success in the 1980s and 1990s, reaching the Super Bowl once in each decade. However, they took off in the 2000s by winning Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXIX in four seasons.
Despite a ten-year gap between their third and fourth titles, they remained as regular playoff fixtures. Their latest championship came in 2018 when they defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
The Patriots have played their home games at Gillette Stadium since 2002, replacing the adjacent Foxboro Stadium. It can accommodate 65,878 people and has used field turf since 2006. The stadium is connected to a lifestyle and entertainment center known as Patriot Place, which includes a restaurant, a movie theater, a hotel, an open mall, and a health center.
But inside the stadium is where Patriots fans make life difficult for visiting teams and coaches. They stayed true to the area’s roots by having some minutemen firing rifles every time the Patriots scored a touchdown. The place is also loud, especially when the other team is on third down or if the Patriots make a big play. Weather is also a huge factor, especially in the winter, when snowfall can be excessive.
The Patriots have had several rivalries, given their extended period of success. They had tough battles with the Indianapolis Colts, especially during the Brady-Manning era. The Patriots have a 52-30 lead in their all-time series, but the Colts won their last meeting. This rivalry continued when Manning joined the Denver Broncos.
The Patriots are also rivals with the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially when Ben Roethlisberger is still around. New England leads their all-time series, 18-16, and won their last two meetings. Meanwhile, New England also has a rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens, leading their series 11-5. However, the Ravens won their matchup in Week 3 of the 2022 season.