New England Patriots 2021-2022 Season Preview, Odds and Win Totals

While Cam Newton (right) may start the season at QB for the Patriots, first round rookie Mac Jones could potentially take over.
While Cam Newton (right) may start the season at QB for the Patriots, first round rookie Mac Jones could potentially take over. / Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

After 19 seasons of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick together, Round 1 of Brady vs. Belichick had a decisive winner.

The GOAT took his talents to Tampa Bay, winning a Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers. Belichick, while no slouch as a six-time Super Bowl winner, swung and missed with free agent QB Cam Newton in 2020, finishing 7-9 with his first losing season since 2000; his first year in New England.

That was enough for the Patriots' brass to make drastic changes during the offseason.

New England loaded up on offense during free agency. They brought in two talented tight ends in Hunter Henry from the Chargers and Jonnu Smith from the Titans. Both combined for over 100 catches and 12 touchdowns with their respective teams a season ago. At wide receiver, Nelson Agholor comes over after a strong bounceback season with the Raiders to help stretch the field, and Kendrick Bourne saw the second-most targets on the 49ers in 2020, adding a versatile possession receiver to help extend drives and move the chains.

Then came the NFL Draft, where the Patriots targeted the future of their franchise in Alabama QB Mac Jones, who will compete with Newton for the starting spot as the season goes along.

The offense is improved, but still very much a work in progress with the QB position up for grabs, and several new players adjusting to Josh McDaniels' scheme. With the bulk of a strong defense returning, New England is determined not to be on the outside looking in for a second consecutive postseason.

New England Patriots 2021 Team Outlook

Check out BetSided's full Preseason Week 1 betting preview when the Patriots take on the Washington Football Team.

The Patriots decided to bring Newton back and appoint him the starter from the very beginning. The stats were brutal in 2020, throwing for just 8 TDs, 10 INTs, and averaging 177.1 passing yards per game. His legs provided far more value, rushing for just under 40 yards per game while scoring 12 rushing touchdowns, but Newton knows he'll need to be a more complete player for New England to be successful.

His offensive line should still remain strong, even with the loss of guard Joe Thuney to the Chiefs. The Patriots ranked 4th in PFF's offensive line grade for 2020, and appear to be set up very well for 2021 let by Isaiah Wynn at left tackler, and the return of Trent Brown on the opposite side.

The running game will need to be noticeably better. Damien Harris was solid, averaging 5 yards/carry, but only scored twice and played in just 10 games. Between Harris, Sony Michel, James White, and of course Cam Newton, the Patriots will need improved versatility, not having to only rely on their quarterback to get the tough yards inside.

The same can be said in their passing game. New England ranked 31st in passing attempts and 30th in yards last season. With Henry and Jonnu Smith in the mix, the Patriots will like return to a 12-personnel set with plenty of targets expected for both players. As for their wide receivers, Julian Edelman is no longer there after retiring, giving players like Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne a solid competition for that inside receiver. Nelson Agholor will likely play the role of the outside deep threat, while still moving around for potential mismatches.

Even with the Patriots' struggles on offense last year, their defense still finished as a top 6 unit in points allowed. Their run defense was the biggest part of their struggles, ranking 26th in the league in yards allowed. In the final six games of the season, the Patriots allowed over 100 total rushing yards in five of them. New England signed several free agents including Davon Godchaux, Montravius Adams and Henry Anderson to help shore up the holes in stopping the run.

At linebacker, several noticeable names return for New England, including Kyle Van Noy and Dont'a Hightower who opted out last season. Matt Judon is another swiss army knife player that will help in pass coverage as well.

Lastly, in the secondary, Stephon Gilmore remains one of the elite corners in the NFL, and teammate J.C. Jackson finished second in interceptions behind division rival Xavien Howard in Miami. Devin McCourty returns for season No. 12 in New England at safety, and second-year DB Kyle Dugger finished fifth in tackles a season ago.

New England Patriots 2021 NFL Draft

The Patriots went Alabama-friendly in their first two rounds, selecting quarterback Mac Jones with the No. 15 overall pick in the first round. Jones had been rumored to go as early as No. 3 to the 49ers, but fell to New England without the Patriots having to trade up to get him.

In Round 2, defensive tackle Christian Barmore went to the Pats, as New England looks to shore up a disappointing run defense from a season ago.

In Rounds 3-4, the Patriots then went Sooner-heavy, selecting Oklahoma edge rusher Ronnie Perkins as the 96th pick in the draft, followed by, running back Rhamondre Stevenson in the 4th round.

New England Patriots Team Odds: Division (+320), Conference (+1400), Super Bowl (+3500)

The Patriots, like the Dolphins’ have strange odds this season over at WynnBET Sportsbook. They rank behind the Bills (-155) to win the AFC East at +320 odds, but appear much further down the list when it comes to winning the AFC as well as the Super bowl.

New England ranks behind Miami (+1400) for winning the AFC Championship game, and fall even lower for Super Bowl 56, coming in at odds of +3500, relative to the Dolphins at +2500.

New England Patriots Regular Season Win Total: 9 WINS | OVER (-105), UNDER (-115)

Ben Heisler: 

It was easy, and albeit a little fun to turn Bill Belichick into a bit of a punch line last season after watching Tom Brady head south to Tampa and win a Super Bowl in his first year. It wasn't particularly funny to Belichick, however, as the Patriots loaded up on free agent talent to vastly improve the bulk of the roster for a much more competitive AFC East.

But how much more competitive will it be?

For starters, Cam Newton returns, and while everything outside of his actual stat lines were reportedly stellar, it's also fair to debate how much better Newton can be after what we saw a season ago. He did have 20 total touchdowns, but only eight came as a passer. That's simply not sustainable for an NFL quarterback on a winning team long term.

I buy Newton being improved, especially with more familiarity and a full offseason learning the playbook, but I still see plenty of flaws in this offense. There's no true No. 1 receiver, and while you can still have elite tight end play and be successful, Newton still doesn't have a consistent, reliable connection the way that Brady had in Julian Edelman for many seasons. I also don't trust the Patriots' run game to stay healthy, with Damien Harris and Sony Michel both spending plenty of time on the injury report a season ago.

I do, however, by the defense. Their secondary is among the best and more experienced in the NFL, and the Patriots spent plenty of free agency capital on improving a shaky run defense that kept them on the field far more than they would have liked. Whether it's Newton or Mac Jones that ends up under center for the bulk of the year, it's imperative that the offense needs to take advantage of the positive field position their defense will likely present for them, and not give it right back with costly turnovers.

As mentioned in both my predictions for the Bills and Dolphins, I'm expecting a three-team race in the AFC East. Buffalo wins the division, but takes a step back from running away with it a season ago. Like the Dolphins, I think New England also ends up at 9-8, taking a two-win improvement from 2020 to 2021.



Donnavan Smoot:

Last year was the first time since 2008 the New England Patriots didn’t have Tom Brady as their quarterback for the season and frankly, it showed. The Patriots missed the playoffs, didn’t win the AFC East and had one of the tougher seasons in recent history. 

Once Cam Newton contracted COVID-19, he was never the same and neither was his team. This year, I’m in on the Newton comeback tour, which makes me in on the Patriots comeback tour. 

New England went 7-9 -- which is an accomplishment looking back on it --  last season with the most optouts on defense and basically no weapons in the passing game. After going on a major spending spree in free agency, the Patriots now have viable options on the outside to help out the passing game. 

The Patriots also used their first round pick to go get Mac Jones from Alabama, signaling a change at quarterback. However, Belichick has been adamant that Newton will be the quarterback. Whoever is under center will have a few options to push the ball down the field to go along with the genius of Bellichick, making them a team to watch. 

Their defense was a typical Patriots “bend, but don’t break” defense, allowing the 15th-most yards in the league, but ranking in the top 10 in points allowed. 

New England will get its stars on defense back to pair with its new offensive weapons which makes for a rejuvenated roster. With Newton motivated and healthy, 2021 should be a better season for the Patriots. 



Peter Dewey: 

We’re going to see if the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick’s spending spree was worth it this offseason, as New England has reloaded on offense to make a playoff push in the 2021 season. 

The Patriots missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 last season, but Cam Newton was surrounded by some seriously subpar options on offense. I mean, Damiere Byrd was the team’s second-leading receiver? 

Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne should provide New England with some much-needed playmaking at receiver and tight end, and I believe in Newton to turn things around in 2021 for as long as he’s the starter. 

Fans may be calling for Mac Jones if he lights it up in the preseason, but Newton looked solid and led the Pats to a 2-1 start before going down with COVID-19 last season. If the Cam bounce-back happens, or Jones turns out to be a competent replacement the Patriots should improve in 2021. 

PREDICTION: Over 9 WINS (-105)


Iain MacMillan:

After 20 years of dominating the NFL, the New England Patriots have finally been dethroned. They finished 7-9 last season, and while they may still have one of the best head coaches in NFL history in Bill Belichick, I don’t expect much improvement from them this season.

Everyone was ready to jump back on the Patriots bandwagon this offseason when they signed Nelson Agholar, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith, but I don’t know what world people think we live in where those four players can turn a losing team back into a Super Bowl contender.

Cam Newton’s arm has lost its zip, so when he’s under center the Patriots become one of the more one dimensional offenses in the NFL. The only hope they have is to start Mac Jones early in the season and hope he ends up being one of the best quarterbacks of this year’s rookie class.

The Patriots don’t have the defense to rely on like they could in the past, as they were average at best in 2020, ranking 14th in opponent yards per game 353.8. They were also one of the worst red zone defenses in the NFL last year, allowing teams to score a touchdown on 65.31% of their trips inside their 20-year line.

I’ll take the under on their win total.



Will the New England Patriots Make the Playoffs? | MISS THE PLAYOFFS (-155), MAKE THE PLAYOFFS (+125)

Ben Heisler: 

Count me in on the Patriots squeezing their way into the postseason, along with both Buffalo and Miami. The three-team race for the AFC East should be a dandy, as each team has made decisive improvement over the offseason.

Bill Belichick didn't spend the team's bulk of their cap room just to sit at home and watch the playoffs in January. The receivers still are a weakness, but I do like the additions of Henry and Smith for Newton as reliable, athletic options in the middle of the field. I also think he'll hold onto the starting job for longer than people anticipate.

The Patriots get into the postseason as one of the two final teams in the AFC along with their division counterpart Dolphins. Chalk up three AFC East teams for playoff football in 2022!


Donnavan Smoot:

I see New England as a borderline playoff team. It will be hard for them to get into the playoffs with the Dolphins and Bills poised to have good years as well. My confidence in the Patriots lies with Newton and Belichick. Also, the fact that the defense was still able to perform with so many of its starters opting out of last year. 

The AFC East is going to be a tough division this year. I believe the Bills will win it, but the battle between New England and Miami is going to be fun to watch. The Patriots and the Dolphins are in the same tier, and I’ll take Newton and Belichick over Flores and Tagovailoa.

I want to be completely transparent. I’m not 100% sure on the Patriots making the playoffs, but I fully believe in Newton as the quarterback for this season and Belichick’s ability to make adjustments. For those reasons, I’m taking the Patriots to make the playoffs.


Peter Dewey:  

Three AFC East teams in the playoffs? What am I thinking? 

No, but seriously, the Patriots and Dolphins are both going to be borderline playoff teams, so I’m going to take my chances at +125 odds with New England and +140 with Miami that at least one of them will sneak in. 

With seven playoff spots up for grabs, there’s no reason that an improvement on last year’s 7-9 season can’t get the Patriots into the playoffs, and Bill Belichick is still the greatest coach the game has ever seen. 

New England has only missed the playoffs two times since 2002, and while Tom Brady is gone, there’s no reason that with their already strong defense and an improved offense the Patriots can’t make a run at a playoff spot in 2021. 


Iain MacMillan: 

The AFC East now belongs to the Buffalo Bills, and if a wildcard spot goes to another team in the division, that berth will likely be given to the Miami Dolphins. If the Patriots want to return to the postseason, they’ll need to hope they can surpass the Dolphins and snag one of three wildcard spots.

I can’t see that happening as long as Cam Newton is their quarterback. They ranked third last in the NFL in passing yards per game last season, only averaging 180.6. Unless you have Lamar Jackson as your quarterback, those numbers are going to be good enough to find success in the modern day NFL.

With only an average defense to support the offense, the Patriots will miss the postseason for the second straight year.



Every day from the start of NFL Training Camp, the BetSided team of Ben Heisler, Donnavan Smoot, Peter Dewey and Iain MacMillan are breaking down the win totals, playoff and Super Bowl odds for every team in the NFL.

Check back Friday at 1 p.m. EDT when we preview the betting outlook for the New York Jets and check out our earlier team-by-team betting previews.


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