2022 record: 8-9, third AFC East
Playoff picture: The Patriots missed the playoffs for just the third time in 20 years and made big changes in what has transformed into one of the NFL’s most competitive divisions.
Biggest Week 1 question: What will the offense look like with Bill O’Brien returning as New England’s offensive coordinator? O’Brien held the post in 2011, when the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl, but he’s tasked with fixing a unit that ranked 26th in total yards per game (314.6) and 17th in points per game (21.4) in 2022.
What’s new: With O’Brien back in the saddle, New England completely revamped its offense, bringing in RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and TE Mike Gesicki. The Patriots also bolstered their offensive line with the additions of tackles Riley Reiff and Calvin Anderson.
They’re gone: Veteran safety Devin McCourty retired, leaving New England with a young secondary. WR Jakobi Meyers, who had team highs in receiving yards (804) and TDs (six) on 67 catches last season, signed with Las Vegas Raiders to reunite with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. RB Damien Harris signed with the Buffalo Bills, while New England traded away K Nick Folk.
On the money: After a contract dispute caused DT Lawrence Guy to skip minicamp, the Patriots still haven’t figured things out with one of the most consistent pieces of their defensive line. Guy is in the third year of a four-year deal, but his future with New England is up in the air.
Get to know: First-round pick Christian Gonzalez was considered a top-10 prospect, and the Patriots were able to land him at No. 17. He recorded 50 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions in 12 games at Oregon last season.
The Patriots also have a pair of rookie receivers that could make an immediate impact in Demario Douglas and Kayshon Boutte. Both were selected in the sixth round of this year’s draft and showed out in training camp.
Vegas says: FanDuel has the win total for the Patriots at 7.5. New England also sits at +250 to reach the postseason and is the biggest underdog to win the division at +800.
—Field Level Media
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