Understatement of the century; the New England Patriots are a good football team. Halfway through the off-season, they were runaway favorites to win the AFC East and to make their ninth straight AFC Championship appearance. Then, unexpectedly, wide receiver Josh Gordon‘s suspension ended, and people started noticing the New England Patriots had quite a decent receiving corps. Gordon, rookie N’Keal Harry, Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, and the speedy Phillip Dorsett With Tom Brady? Forget about it.
Then, Saturday afternoon, they signed All-Pro wide receiver, Antonio Brown, and everything changed.
The 2019 New England Patriots Have Unprecedented Potential
As Albert Breer tweeted, Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown were first and second in receiving yards back in 2013, while Demaryius Thomas was fourth, meanwhile Brown was second in catches while Julian Edelman was fourth. Sure, that was 2013, but it’s not like these guys forgot how to play football. But let’s just take a look at some of the players on this team.
The starting quarterback? Tom Brady, arguably the very best to ever do it, who shows no signs of showing down. The tailbacks? Both James White and Sony Michel are extremely versatile, being able to do just about anything out of the backfield. Then there are the receivers, and it’s just unreal. Josh Gordon, who is one of the most gifted receivers in recent memory, Antonio Brown, who is bound for Canton, Julian Edelman, one of the most versatile, talented slot receivers in football, a redzone threat in Demaryius Thomas, and Dorsett, who ran a 4.33 40 yard dash.
Sure, the Patriots have had a ton of overhaul on the offensive line, but Dante Scarnecchia is probably the best position coach in the league. He can elevate questionable talent, not to mention, Brady gets rid of the ball so quickly that they don’t need to block for very long. The one missing piece on New England’s offense is a key tight end, but I’ve been saying it all Summer, I don’t think that Rob Gronkowski stay retired.
The last time that Tom Brady had an offense like this? Was in 2007, when he had Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker, and Benjamin Watson. Is Antonio Brown better than Randy Moss? Maybe not. But beyond that? Gordon is better than Stallworth, Edelman is better than Welker, and if Gronk really comes back? It’s over.
Defense Wins Championships?
The Patriots almost always have a sneaky-good defense. They don’t lead the NFL in sacks or turnovers, but they almost always keep teams out of the endzone. Last year, they were 21st in yards allowed, but seventh in points. The year before that? They were 29th in yards but fifth in points. The season before they, they actually had the best defense against points.
The Patriots don’t go after high-profile defensive free agents, they like smart, versatile players that are good at a lot of things instead of great at any one thing. They like to seal the edge, prevent big plays, and tighten up in the redzone.
Do I think the New England Patriots are going to have a defense worth starting in fantasy football? Not necessarily. I think they’ll give up a ton of yards and they don’t have the flashy stats you think of when you imagine an elite defense. But what they’ll do is tighten up, make other teams earn every yard, and capitalize on mistakes, meanwhile, the offense simply won’t make mistakes.
You’re talking about an incredibly talented team in a mediocre division featuring the best quarterback and coach of all time, with a Hall of Fame wide receiver, and potentially the best tight end of all time. The Patriots have played in the last eight AFC Championships and four of the last five Super Bowls.
Assuming that Antonio Brown was playing fool and isn’t actually insane, and that Josh Gordon can control his off the field issues, this Patriots team might not lose a game this year. If the Patriots go 19-0 and capture their seventh Lombardi Trophy in the salary cap era, is this the greatest dynasty in the history of professional sports?