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 Matt Judon (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

2nd Down: A New England Patriots defensive player will have 10+ sacks

If the defense can make opponents one dimensional, the pass rushers will be able to pin their ears back and hunt. This won’t be like previous Patriots defenses that was led by an elite secondary and relied on blitzing the generate pressure. The upgrades to the front seven will allow the Patriots to send just four to catch their prey.

Besides Godchaux and Anderson, Kyle Van Noy is back after a season with the Dolphins. Barmore will likely assume the role of interior pass rusher previously manned by Adam Butler.

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But the headliner of the off-season additions is Matt Judon. The versatile linebacker was poached from the Baltimore Ravens, and we quickly saw what Judon brings to New England.

Yes, Judon will do whatever Belichick tells him to do, whether that’s the set the edge to defend the run to dropping back into zone coverage. But Judon as a pass rusher…whoa…

During the preseason, Judon seemed nearly unblockable. If he’s that good when the games are real, then Judon should have no problem getting 10 sacks, which hasn’t been done since Chandler Jones did it in 2015.

If Judon is dominant, double teams will be sent his way. That will open the door for his teammates.

Josh Uche, in just his second year, looked almost as good as Judon during training camp and in preseason games. It earned him the title of “Little Judon” from Hightower.

"“He’s like a little Judon, almost,” Hightower said Thursday. “Honestly, that’s big brother, little brother. He brings a lot of energy. A different energy. A younger, generational energy. But I love it.”"

While not a starter, Chase Winowich will get his chances as part of sub packages. Wise Jr. hasn’t put up the numbers of a feared pass rusher, but he should benefit from the improved talent around him. And with Barmore’s ability to beat protection from the inside, double digit sacks could be within his range.

This won’t be like the last two Super Bowl defenses that had 30 and 34 sacks. New England will eclipse those numbers easily. The only question is which player will bag 10 QBs along the way.

As the defense competes to end the 10 sack streak, an offensive streak will be extended for another year…