New England Patriots: Evaluating 2017 preseason bold predictions

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31: Tom Brady /

During the NFL preseason, I made 5 bold predictions about the New England Patriots. Now that the regular season is over, it’s time to evaluate how accurate my predictions were.

Now that the regular season has concluded and the New England Patriots have made their way to the playoffs, it’s time to look back and reflect on everything that happened in 2017.

More importantly, it’s time to see whether or not I’m a psychic. That’s why we make predictions in the first place, right? To brag about how we knew it all along when something happens?

Anyway, I’m going to walk you through all 5 of my bold predictions and we’ll see how I did. In the words of Captain Li Shang from Mulan: “Let’s get down to business”.

1. Brandin Cooks will lead the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns

Well, not quite. Cooks was beat out by a slim margin by Rob Gronkowski in all 3 categories. Cooks finished the year with 65 receptions, 1,082 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns, while Gronk recorded 69/1,084/8, respectively.

He was very close, but no cigar. If you consider all the yardage Cooks earned through drawing defensive pass interference calls, you have to believe he would have led the team in yards. But, that’s not how it works, and I’m no excuse maker.

Prediction outcome: Incorrect

2. The defense will outperform the offense

In no way, shape, or form did this prediction materialize. I figured the addition of Stephon Gilmore would send the Patriots secondary into the elite category, but boy was I wrong.

Looking back, the Patriots salvaged what was on its way to being an abysmal defensive season. For the first couple games, the Pats D couldn’t have stopped the Friday Night Tykes. Fortunately for all of us, they did some soul searching at Thanksgiving and actually contained teams well after that.

Despite finishing 29th in yards allowed/game, the New England Patriots defense finished in the top 5 for points allowed/game (18.5). I don’t really understand how that’s possible, but I’m not arguing.

Whatever the case, this prediction stood no chance. The Patriots offense led the NFL in yards per game and was second in points per game. Again, no complaints here.

Prediction outcome: Incorrect

3. Dion Lewis will lead all Patriots RB in total yards

Oh yeah, baby. Now we’re talking. I’m finally starting to sounds like normal crazy person, and not certifiably insane. Not to toot my own horn, but I hit the nail on the head with this one.

FOXBORO, MA – DECEMBER 24: Dion Lewis /

Dion Lewis, who many people said could get cut before the season, had an incredible year. Lewis led all Patriots RB in carries (180), rushing yards (896), and rushing touchdowns (6). He also added 214 yards and 3 TDs on 32 receptions.

Related Story: Dion Lewis ‘embracing’ role as featured back

Lewis was the only Patriots running back to eclipse 1,000 total yards, and his total yardage output (1,110) was just 8 yards shy of James White’s and Rex Burkhead’s totals combined (1,118).

So yes, in retrospect, this was an obvious choice. However, during the preseason, no one’s role was defined. Who knows, one fumble early on could have led to an entirely different season. Thank god that didn’t happen.

Prediction outcome: Correct

4. Rob Gronkowski will miss fewer than 3 games all season

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Hallelujah. Not only was Gronk healthy for most of the season, but he was dominant. As mentioned above, Gronk led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns.

As for the prediction, well, it was correct. No big deal. Gronk started 14 of a possible 16 games this regular season, which meets the “fewer than 3” criteria. 16 – 14 = 2, yeah, that’s right.

He even finished the season with 69 receptions, which, lest you forget, is his favorite number. Eros, the Greek God of sexual desire, is looking down on Gronk, and he won’t let anything happen to our favorite tight end. All together now, knock on wood.

A healthy Gronk means a scary Pats offense, and that’s something essential for the Patriots to win a Super Bowl.

Prediction: Correct

5. Tom Brady will lead the NFL in passing yards

The 40 year old surgeon was at it again in 2017. He was sharp as a well aged cheese and he ran the offense with pragmatism and reckless abandon.

With 4,577 yards, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. led the NFL in passing. What’s that, Trent Dilfer? Something about a cliff, not being good anymore, too old, or something? I think not.

In the GOAT’s 40 year old season, he put up the 5th most passing yards he’s ever had in a single year. Truly an incredible feat, when you think about it.

You could chalk his success up to his hydration, pliability, ultra-strict diet, and heart, but I like to think of Tom Brady as a deity. Less than a God, but more than a man. A being so physically superior that Michelangelo’s “David” shutters just thinking about him.

Death, taxes, and Tom Brady dominating. Whatever his secret, it’s working.

Prediction: Correct

And there you have it. 3/5 might be bad if we’re talking about a Tom Brady drive down the field, but for bold predictions? I’ll take it.

Next: New England Patriots: 5 observations from Week 17 win over Jets

Now, it’s time to shift our focus to January 13th, when the real season begins. Go Patriots.