New England Patriots
Head coach: Bill Belichick (19th season, also assuming role of defensive coordinator in 2019)
Last year’s record: 11-5-0, won Super Bowl LIII versus LA Rams, 13-3
First game: Sept. 8 versus Pittsburgh Steelers
Win total: Over/Under 11
Super Bowl Odds: +600
It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be sitting comfortably on your couch, sipping a cold beer and tuning in to watch your favorite team on NFL Sundays. With the league taking new shape following free agency and the draft, now is the perfect time to take a look at each NFL squad and its chances of hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy.
The early lines are out on win totals, Super Bowl futures and every Week 1 game. Starting with last year’s Super Bowl winner New England, we’ll work our way through the league and preview what lies ahead in the 2019 season.
Who’s In and Who’s Out
New England looked far from its typical Super Bowl-caliber self in 2018. Yet the Patriots swiped one more ring and took down two explosive offenses in Kansas City and the Rams en route to a championship. Legendary head coach Bill Belichick found a way to work his magic once again behind the greatness of iconic quarterback Tom Brady.
It was a low-scoring affair in Super Bowl LIII, but New England managed to eke out a win. Time and again the Patriots have proven you can never count them out. But in 2019 Super Bowl glory will be more difficult than ever to attain with the loss of one of the Pats’ biggest stars, Rob Gronkowski.
While it’s not 100 percent certain he’ll stay retired from football, New England will move forward in the coming season, replacing several key contributors with new talent acquired both in free agency and the draft.
Aside from Gronk, defensive end Trey Flowers and offensive tackle Trent Brown have left the team to join the Lions and Raiders, respectively. Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett has joined the 2019 roster to help make up for the loss of Flowers, while last year’s first-round pick, Isaiah Wynn, should fill the hole left by Brown.
Wide receiver N’Keal Harry was also acquired via the 2019 NFL draft, as was cornerback Joejuan Williams, defensive end Chase Winovich and running back Damien Harris. Former Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (on the Texans roster in 2018) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins signed with New England in free agency, as well.
First Game of the Season: Sept. 8, 8:20 p.m. ET, Gillette Stadium
Pittsburgh Steelers (+210) at New England Patriots (-260)
Spread: Patriots -6 (-105)
Over/Under: Over 51.5 (-110), Under 51.5 (+100)
Following a 9-6 season filled with controversy, the Steelers parted with Le’Veon Bell, who sat out all of last season, and also lost star wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Raiders. The roster is in flux, and with a visit to Gillette Stadium to open the season, the Steelers should end up in the loss column. Take New England -6.
Over/Under Win Total: 11
Schedule (bold font indicates home game): Steelers, Dolphins, Jets, Bills, Redskins, Giants, Jets, Browns, Ravens, BYE, Eagles, Cowboys, Texans, Chiefs, Bengals, Bills, Dolphins
New England is fully capable of pulling off the over. Belichick can win with just about anyone. Even without Gronk, this year shouldn’t be any different.
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