1. JuJu Smith-Schuster
It’s no secret that a huge part of the Patriots’ shortcomings in 2022 had to do with a disastrous passing game. The team was devoid of offensive playmakers, which was made evident by Jakobi Meyers being the only wide receiver who finished with more than 540 receiving yards (804).
Now that Meyers is with the Las Vegas Raiders, the Patriots entered the offseason needing a new No. 1 WR, resulting in their signing JuJu Smith-Schuster to a three-year deal.
The Patriots are going to need to score a lot of points to keep up with the Eagles, meaning Smith-Schuster will be called upon often. He proved in 2018 that he’s capable of being an elite receiving threat, tallying 111 catches for over 1,400 yards with seven TDs in 16 games.
At the same time, that was five years ago and Smith-Schuster hasn’t hit the 1,000-yard mark since then. He did rack up a solid 78-933-3 stat line just last year, but that came with Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball.
With all due respect to Jones, it’s going to be tougher for Smith-Schuster to match that performance. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but a strong showing against the Eagles would help erase any doubt in my mind.
DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne are solid WR2/3s but don’t have the same upside as the Super Bowl-winning wideout. Having said that, if Smith-Schuster does his job, the aforementioned duo has the chance to thrive against weaker matchups.
If he can show that he’s capable of handling the No. 1WR role, the Patriots have a great chance at upsetting the Eagles.
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