New England Patriots: 4 super bold predictions for 2021 NFL season

FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 12: Members of the New England Patriots offense
FOXBOROUGH, MA - AUGUST 12: Members of the New England Patriots offense /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots Bill Belichick (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

What will the 2021 New England Patriots look like?

Do you like re-runs?

Think back 20 years ago. Tom Brady is thrust into the starting role after Drew Bledsoe’s life nearly ended on the Foxboro Stadium sideline.

The defense is built with first round draft pick Richard Seymour, veterans Tedy Bruschi and Ty Law, and new additions Roman Phifer and Mike Vrabel. The offense is powered by Antowain Smith. All Brady is asked to do is don’t screw it up.

Now warp back to the present day. The defense is built with second-round draft pick Christian Barmore, veterans Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty, and new additions Matthew Judon and Davon Godchaux. The offense will be powered by Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson. Mac Jones will be asked to not screw it up.

The decision to cut Cam Newton and name Jones the starter was surprising. But head coach Bill Belichick wouldn’t had chosen Mac over Cam if he didn’t feel like he could win with Jones.

The Patriots 2021 formula is like the 2001 plan to protect an inexperienced quarterback, and it will yield similar results

And Belichick remembers his winning formula from 2001. It’s been updated to reflect how the league has evolved, but the goal is to play tough defense, run the ball and have the quarterback play it safe.

That’s not to say there won’t be moments when Belichick needs Jones to orchestrate a game-winning 2-minute drive. But Belichick would rather not put that much on his rookie signal caller.

In 2001, Brady led the Patriots to the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship. How far will Jones take the Pats? You’ll have to read all the way to the final slide.