The New England Patriots missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2008. It was a down year for the franchise due to several opt-outs and the departure of Tom Brady.
Clearly, the Patriots’ 7-9 record didn’t sit well with Bill Belichick. The front office went out and spent a ton of money in free agency to upgrade its receiving corps and defensive personnel. Belichick also found his potential quarterback of the future in the 2021 NFL Draft, selecting Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick.
New England still has ways to go before it proves its once again a title contender in the AFC, but there’s no question the team’s ceiling is much higher this year.
So what is the ceiling for this current team? On Thursday morning’s edition of Get Up on ESPN, former Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich said he believes New England could win 11 games this fall.
“Well, with them spending about $200 million in free agency, I think that they’re going to have a successful year,” Ninkovich said, via NESN. “I’m going with 11 wins. They’re going to be 11-6. They’re going to be right back in the mix for the division. I think they might split between Miami and Buffalo. They’re going to have a couple rough games on the road, going out to LA. So, I’m going 11-6 for the Patriots.”
That’s a fair prediction from Ninkovich.
An 11-6 record wouldn’t guarantee a division title since the AFC East is extremely talented. It would most likely mean a return to the playoffs, however, and honestly that’s all that matters to the fans in Foxborough.
If the Patriots are going to be a playoff team this fall, they’ll need steady production at quarterback. Cam Newton is the projected starter for Week 1, but we can’t count out Mac Jones if he looks sharp in training camp.
Time will tell if the Patriots’ shopping spree in free agency will result in wins during the regular season.