NFL Energy Rankings Roundup: Will Patriots Hold Playoff Streak Alive?

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By Michael Hurley, CBS dangolka

dangolka (CBS) — Oh, child. Soccer season is right here.

No, it’s not a traditional one, however the league is certainly beginning, and all of it will certainly depend within the historical past books. Whereas the empty stadiums (and largely empty stadiums) and COVID restrictions and roster guidelines and every little thing else that’s wacky and wild in 2020 will make issues really feel a bit unusual, the truth is that the commissioner will likely be handing over the Lombardi Trophy in February.

As such, it’s an actual season, with actual stakes. And the true video games start now.

It’s an intriguing season for roughly seven million causes, however among the many largest is whether or not or not the Patriots can proceed their run of dominance of the AFC East and success general as a perennial Tremendous Bowl contender.

Tom Brady is gone, as are some key cogs on protection — Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung opted out, whereas Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Danny Shelton departed through free company — so it’s honest to surprise if the Patriots are in for one more double-digit win season and an 12th straight AFC East crown? Will the playoff streak lengthen to a 12th straight yr? Or will they miss the postseason for simply the third time since 2001?

Effectively, we’ll discover out within the coming months. For now, right here’s what the experrrrttts across the web are saying in regards to the Patriots, within the type of POWER RANKINGS.

CBS Sports activities’ Pete Prisco
Patriots’ Rank: 20th

What are the Patriots doing down right here so low? Check out the roster. Even with Cam Newton at quarterback, this season will problem Invoice Belichick like none different with the Pats.

The Ringer‘s Danny Kelly
Patriots’ Rank: 15th

The staff’s top-tier protection actually gives a snug flooring for the staff to compete this yr, nevertheless it’s unlikely that unit reaches the heights we noticed final season. New England may battle to create takeaways on the similar fee it did final yr (when that unit notched 36 whole takeaways, together with a league-high 25 interceptions), and the Patriots will face a harder schedule (ninth hardest) this season than they did final yr (best). After all, Cam Newton is the plain X issue for New England’s prospects this yr. Newton gained’t profit from being surrounded by a surplus of gifted playmakers on the talent positions, however he actually by no means has in his profession. I gained’t be shocked if Newton performs effectively, although, and I anticipate the Patriots to shoot up this listing because the yr goes on.

Isn’t the purpose of an influence ranker to account for the longer term? When you suppose a staff will shoot up the listing, shouldn’t they be up on the listing? I don’t know. I’m no energy ranker. Again to the motion!

NFL.com‘s Dan Hanzus
Patriots’ Rank: 15th

It’s not possible to know if Newton is near the identical man who gained MVP with the Panthers a half decade in the past, however he actually is the proper bridge to no matter comes subsequent in New England. Someday — whether or not it’s subsequent yr or 5 years from now — the Patriots will make investments a premium draft choose in a younger quarterback. Newton, even when issues don’t work out in Foxborough, gives a buffer between Tom Brady and the subsequent boy who could be king.

ESPN‘s Soccer Energy Index
Patriots’ Rank: ninth

The previous Panther, who wears No. 1, mentioned he doesn’t really feel just like the staff’s starter, and that he’s not the place he needs to be mentally on the line of scrimmage at occasions, however his acclimation holds the important thing to the offense. Add on that Newton was named one of many Patriots’ eight captains final week, marking a fast rise after he formally signed with the staff July 8.

Fox Information’ Daniel Canova (Fox Information does NFL energy rankings??)
Patriots’ Rank: 16th

The Invoice Belichick and Tom Brady period is formally over after 20 seasons collectively. Within the offseason, the Patriots signed free agent quarterback Cam Newton to be the successor for the longer term Corridor of Famer. Specialists are already burying the Patriots, however don’t depend them out so quick.

Thanks, Fox Information! Admire the perception.

Professional Soccer Community‘s Matt Williamson
Patriots’ Rank: 16th

The Patriots protection was glorious final yr, however one (of many) methods this aspect of the ball helped Tom Brady’s offense was giving New England the league’s greatest common beginning discipline place.

Professional Soccer Speak‘s Mike Florio
Patriots’ Rank: 4th

Whoa! Fourth?

The chaos and uncertainty and unpredictability of 2020 performs proper into New England’s fingers. Getting a extremely motivated and by all appearances extraordinarily wholesome Cam Newton helps, too.

Enjoyable level! However fourth?? Daring.

Sports activities Illustrated‘s MMQB Workers
Patriots’ Rank: 15th

Clearly we’re all targeted on how Cam Newton replaces Tom Brady, however the variety of defensive gamers who opted out of New England this season might be simply as an enormous a narrative.

So true, MMQB workers. So true.

Walter Soccer
Patriots’ Rank: 16th

I turned far more bullish on the Patriots once they signed Cam Newton, however all of their opt-outs may forestall them from successful the AFC East. The Marcus Cannon and Dont’a Hightower opt-outs had been particularly painful.

Walter Soccer has spoken.

The Sporting Information‘ Vinnie Iyer
Patriots’ Rank: 13th

The Patriots are deciding on Cam Newton to exchange Brady within the brief time period, however they’ve loads of different offensive points to iron out as they attempt to faucet into Newton’s MVP upside. Defensively, they’ve misplaced lots of move rush however gained extra youth and flexibility for Invoice Belichick. Belichick can do his greatest teaching job but if he will get these specific Patriots to the playoffs. 

The Athletic‘s Sheil Kapadia
Patriots’ Rank: 16th

Listening to Belichick gush over Newton in current weeks has me scared I’m going to get crushed by Previous Takes Uncovered after the Patriots win 11 video games. My concern is it gained’t be sufficient for Newton to function inside the offense. He’ll want to hold the offense on his again as a result of they’re simply not that gifted. The secondary ought to nonetheless be good, however New England has a bunch of query marks in its entrance seven. Belichick will give them an opportunity each week, nevertheless it’s arduous to see them successful many one-on-one matchups.

Bleacher Report‘s Workers
Patriots’ Rank: 19th

No staff has a much bigger disparity of opinion amongst our analysts than the New England Patriots.

If the Patriots can one way or the other overcome all of these losses and win the division once more, it is going to seemingly be one of the best teaching job of Invoice Belichick’s profession. Nevertheless it’s equally attainable (if no more so) that New England’s days of dominance within the AFC are performed.

Yahoo Sports activities‘ Frank Schwab
Patriots’ Rank: 12th

The notion that Invoice Belichick and Cam Newton couldn’t get alongside was at all times misplaced. Belichick needs gamers who’re critical about soccer, and Newton is that. Newton is the starter, already a captain, and if he doesn’t work out in New England it’s not going to be as a result of he didn’t get together with the coach.

USA In the present day‘s Nate Davis
Patriots’ Rank: 17th

Invoice Belichick is already thriving with out Tom Brady – maybe you’ve seen the Subway advertisements? Now … can we get some banana peppers with that protection?

OVERALL
Patriots’ Common Rank: 14.5

If I could also be fairly frank … this was a cowardly exhibiting by so many energy rankers.

Clearly, lots of them anticipate a flop of a season out of the Patriots. (Make no mistake: Being the 15th-best staff in soccer is a flop so far as Patriots seasons go.) But they continue to be ever-so-worried that Invoice Belichick and all of his teaching mastery will make fools of them, in order that they’re going with a safer choose within the mid-teens juuuuuuust in case the Patriots find yourself trying like, effectively, THE PATRIOTS. Preseason energy rankings aren’t any place for tepidity. Disgrace on you, energy rankers. Disgrace. On. You.

I commend Mike Florio and Pete Prisco for no less than being daring, and their rankings — fourth and 20th, respectively — are completely indicative of the entire unknown that’s the 2020 Patriots season. They is likely to be worse than we’ve seen them in a very long time. They may win the rattling Tremendous Bowl.

Who is aware of. However we will say with a good quantity of certainty that they won’t beneath any circumstance be boring.

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