Welcome to my first NFL prediction article of 2017. Today I’ll be taking a look at the Pats schedule and predict how each game will turn out. The Pats may have gotten lucky with their early season schedule, but a three-game road trip to Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh could end their typical December dominance. However, I still think the Pats will end up with the best record in the AFC. Here’s how they’ll get there.
Week 1: Thursday 9/7 @8:25 PM, CBS vs.
The NFL season opens with this tight AFC rivalry. The Chiefs have been a challenge for the Pats in recent years. They’re never easy to beat. But this year, the Pats look to have the best roster in football. Tom Brady has so many weapons this year, and this will overwhelm Kansas City. Their 2014 team did lose to the Chiefs, but that was in Kansas City. At Gillette, against this roster, there’s no way Alex Smith will lead his team to victory, although Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce will be tough to cover.
Prediction: W, 1-0
Week 2: Sunday 9/17 @1:00 PM, CBS @
The Saints offense is just getting better. Michael Thomas emerged last season, Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson will make for a dynamic RB duo, and Drew Brees is still an elite quarterback. However, the Pats gave up their first round pick for Saints receiver Brandin Cooks, and Cooks will be hungry for revenge against his former team. Add that to a healthy Gronk, and the Pats are looking like they can kick some serious butt against New Orleans.
Prediction: W, 2-0
Week 3: Sunday 9/24 @1:00 PM, CBS vs.
I’m calling it right now that the Texans will fall in 2017. Unless Deshaun Watson or Tom Savage emerges as a quality starter, the Texans don’t have a good QB, and I see their offense taking a downfall. They have some weapons, but they just don’t look like a playoff team without a good QB. The defense could be tough for the Pats, but Brady will outscore the Houston offense by a mile. We could see Brady have the kind of lights out performance we saw Jacoby Brissett put up against this team last year. If Brissett can do it, Brady definitely can.
Prediction: W, 3-0
Week 4: Sunday 10/1 @1:00 PM EST, FOX vs.
The Pats begin October against a team that surprisingly struggled in 2016, the Carolina Panthers. In 2017, I see the Panthers bouncing back. The Patriots are lucky that they face Carolina and Atlanta at home. The Bucs have also improved though, and the Pats visit them. Carolina will use Christian McCaffrey to bring back the running game. The defense is better and with the rushing game intact, Carolina looks like a playoff team. However, they have not improved enough to beat the Pats at Gillette. The Panthers will become overwhelmed by this stacked Patriots team and will look like the 2016 Panthers for a week.
Prediction: W, 4-0
Week 5: Thursday 10/5 @8:25 PM EST, CBS @
The Buccaneers have gotten better. Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson will make a great receiver duo, Jackson acting as a mentor for Mike Evans, and a moderate contributor himself. This offense has been good for a couple years now. The defense has also slowly improved. But I don’t think this intriguing team will put up enough points to beat the Pats. The Buccaneers have some young defense that will be under serious pressure against Tom Brady. TB12 will come out on top here.
Prediction: W, 5-0
Week 6: Sunday 10/15 @1:00 PM, CBS @
The Jets may very well be the worst team in football this year. The offense is old and is crumbling, and the defense isn’t anything special yet but has budding young talent. There is no way that the Jets will get a W on the Pats this season, even the Pats backups in Week 17 if it even comes to that. The Patriots are just the far more talented team.
Prediction: W, 6-0
Week 7: Sunday 10/22 @8:30 PM, NBC vs.
This Super Bowl rematch could be close. The Falcons still have a powerful offense, led by the trio of Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, and Julio Jones. But the Falcons still have issues despite a good offensive core and strong front seven. The depleted secondary is a concern for them, and our receivers will be all over them. They also don’t have enough sophisticated weapons on offense. The Patriots have at least 8 good receiving targets for TB12. Despite more superstars on Atlanta’s offense, New England’s balanced superteam will come out victorious at home.
Prediction: W, 7-0
Week 8: Sunday 10/29 @1:00 PM, CBS vs.
The Chargers have really polished their offense. If healthy, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin will make a great WR trio, but that’s a big if. However, if all fails, they also have Melvin Gordon, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates to target. However, this offense does not match up to the Pats’, and the defense is not up to par yet in LA. The Patriots should be all over the Chargers defense and overwhelm them big time.
Prediction: W, 8-0
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Sunday 11/12 @8:30 PM EST, NBC @
Denver does not have the kind of team they had with Peyton Manning. They got their butts kicked the last time the Pats flew into Denver. The Broncos are now a mediocre team with a struggling offense, despite a strong defensive core. The Pats defense will target Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch (whoever starts) and the Broncos will struggle to score.
Prediction: W, 9-0
Week 11: Sunday 11/19 @4:25 PM EST, CBS vs. in Mexico
Technically, this isn’t a home game for Oakland but the Raiders are considered Mexico’s home team right now, and I think they will have a home field advantage. Marshawn Lynch will be difficult for the Pats to cover, and the Raiders have an evolving QB and a strong receiving game. They have one of the best offenses in football, and the Pats defense will have trouble with them. The Raiders also have a decent defense so this could be a very close game.
Prediction: L, 9-1
Week 12: Sunday 11/26 @1:00 PM EST, CBS vs.
Miami could be New England’s closest competitor in the AFC East, but they don’t have a chance at the division win, or a win at Gillette during Week 12. The Pats’ have an all-around powerful team that will overpower the Dolphins, especially at Gillette. Miami has a weak secondary like the Falcons, and that will cost them this game as Brandin Cooks has a 100+ yard game. Pats beat their division rival at home.
Prediction: W, 10-1
Week 13: Sunday 12/3 @1:00 PM EST, CBS @
LeSean McCoy might be more of a challenge to cover than Marshawn Lynch, the Bills have no receiving game, especially if Jeremy Maclin signs somewhere else. It might be different if Maclin is here, but Buffalo would still not match-up to the Pats with him on the team. The Bills defense is no match for Brady and his receivers, and the Patriots should blow out this team, even on the road.
Prediction: W, 11-1
Week 14: Monday 12/11 @8:30 PM EST, ESPN @
I know I have the Pats overwhelming the Dolphins at Gillette, but the dynamic will be different in Miami. I think Tannehill will bounce back from a rough game in Foxboro, and the Dolphins offense will score at least 4 TDs on the Patriots. The defense will struggle as Miami’s offense has a better game. The Patriots will make it close and overwhelm the Dolphins D, but it may not be enough to beat the Dolphins.
Prediction: L, 11-2
Week 15: Sunday 12/17 @4:25 PM EST, CBS @
This classic AFC rivalry should result in a close game. The Steelers have the best Big 3 in football, with Big Ben, Bell, and Brown. Martavis Bryant and JuJu Smith-Schuster should also boost the offense after the release of injury prone tight end Ladarius Green. The Patriots offense will be tough to outscore, but this powerful Pittsburgh offense might find a way to do it. This will be another offensive shootout that will come down to the final minutes.
Prediction: L, 11-3
Week 16: Sunday 12/24 @1:00 PM EST on CBS vs.
At Gillette, it will be even easier for the Pats to beat the Bills. Chris Hogan should break out for a 100-yard game, and the Bills receiving game will be outdone by the Pats’ strong secondary. LeSean McCoy will have a big game but the Tyrod Taylor and his receivers will struggle. The Pats will grab a big win in this division rivalry.
Prediction: W, 12-3
Week 17: Sunday 12/31 @1:00 PM EST, CBS vs.
I bet the Pats backups could beat this Jets team! It would be different if they played the Dolphins in Week 17, but they’re going to win their final game this year, starters or no starters. Either way, they will humiliate the Jets once again.
Prediction: W, 13-3
Is this Patriots team a Super Bowl team? They have some tough competition this year so it might be tough, but they won last year, and they’ve gotten even better. By far, this is the best team in football, and I think they can win for the second straight year.