New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - JANUARY 02: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots reacts after a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 02, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

Before every Patriots season kicks off, I make a couple of bold predictions for the team that year. I also like to send out the call to others at the station, for predictions bold or otherwise.

With the season coming to a close, let’s take a look back at what we projected in late August. Who got it right, and who got it wrong, starting with my own two predictions…

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  • The Team Leaders In Receptions, Receiving Yards, And Receiving Touchdowns Will Be Three Different Players.

    Oct 31, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers (16) carries the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers in the second half at SoFi Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Chargers 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Let’s call this a half win. Jakobi Meyers far and away led the team in catches with 88 – the next closest player was Kendrick Bourne with 55. In terms of yards, the gap was closer with Meyers outgaining Bourne 866-800. Hunter Henry’s nine touchdowns led the team by almost double the next-closest player (Bourne, 5).

  • The Patriots Will Allow Under 100 Rushing Yards Per Game On Defense

    ATLANTA, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 18: Christian Barmore #90 of the New England Patriots tackles Qadree Ollison #30 of the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    After struggling to stop the run in 2020, the Patriots heavily invested in their front seven in 2021. The expectation was those investments would pay dividends.

    In reality, there were two extremes from the run defense. The Patriots held their opponents to under 100 rushing yards eight times in 17 games, yet in the remaining nine they averaged 167.1 yards per game on the ground including two 200-plus yard performances. In total, they allowed 123.7 rushing yards per game, which ranked 22nd in the NFL.

  • 98.5 The Sports Hub Staff Predictions

    Now, here’s a look at the staff predictions from the preseason…

  • Mike Felger, Felger & Mazz

    12-5. Lose AFC title game at Denver.

    Who says Felger is always negative?

  • Tony Massarotti, Felger & Mazz

    Will they win it all? Probably not. Will they win the division? Possibly, but doubtful. But what they will do is make the playoffs and put a sign on the front door: BACK IN BUSINESS.

    Hard to argue with this prediction from Mazz. There’s certainly a ‘back in business’ feeling, especially given the play of Mac Jones.

  • Jim Murray, Felger & Mazz

    Let’s get one thing straight right out of the gate. If you think this year’s Patriots team is going to the Super Bowl, let alone win the thing, you’re a delusional moron & I can’t take you seriously.

    That said!

    They’ll be better.

    I mean, how can’t they be what with all the money spent on free agents, and Cam Newton is no longer throwing footballs at his teammates feet. The division still mostly stinks, I believe Buffalo takes a step back, and they should be hosting (or at least playing in) Wild Card weekend. Just a quick word about Mac Jones and managing expectations for a rookie QB. Some people are predicting double digit wins, 20+ TDs and 15 or fewer INTs, a playoff victory. In the history of the NFL draft during the SB era only one QB has accomplished all three in his rookie season…

    Russell Wilson, 2012.

    Russell Wilson. 11-5 rec. 26 TD 10 INT WC win

    So you think Mac Jones is going to mirror that? Seems a bit lofty in my opinion. The kid will be fine to good, and he’s going to look like a dumb rookie at times. Deal with it.

    Anyway, the prediction! 10-7 and lose wild card weekend. Oh, and Matthew Judon is going to have a season like a young Javon Kearse.

    Jones didn’t quite hit Russell Wilson’s benchmarks, but he was a playoff win away from becoming the second quarterback in the Super Bowl era to check all of Murray’s qualifiers with 22 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions, and 10 wins.

    Overall, Murray’s assessment is another one that is pretty spot on. He nailed the record, and the Judon/Kearse comparison had some legs until the final month.

  • Jimmy Stewart, Felger & Mazz

    Patriots 12-5, AFC Championship Game

    Mac Jones offensive rookie of the year: 24 TDs, 8 INTs 67% completion, top 15 in the NFL in passer rating.

    Mac’s No. 1 target will be Jakobi Meyers, who will catch 100+ passes.

    Patriots have a top 8 defense in the NFL.

    Jimmy nailed Jones’ completion percentage (67.6), as well as the fact he’d finish with a top 15 passer rating (92.5). Meyers was indeed the top target, falling 12 catches short of the century mark. As for the defense, they ranked second in the league in scoring and fourth in yards against. Overall, a strong showing from the Felger & Mazz program in this year’s predictions.

  • Fred Toucher, Toucher & Rich

    N’Keal Harry will set the NFL record for touchdowns in a season.

    Shoutout to Fred for truly embracing the bold in bold predictions.

  • Rich Shertenlieb, Toucher & Rich

    Patriots beat the Bucs on October 3rd. Tom Brady leaves the field before Bill Belichick can shake his hand. Patriots are bounced in Round 1 of the playoffs, but it doesn’t matter – Bill won his Super Bowl in Week 4.

    The Patriots nearly did beat the Bucs, but Brady and Belichick had a long conversation in the locker room after the game. Still, this was one of the most fun predictions before the season.

  • Tim McKone

    The Patriots will go 12-5 this season thanks in large part to the performance of rookie of the year Mac Jones (I’m a believer!). New England will wind up winning the division as the Bills will take a surprising step back this year. The biggest surprise for fans will be that all of this done without Stephon Gilmore. The former defensive player of the year has played his last game for the Pats and with JC Jackson emerging as a number one corner Bill Belichick will send him packing in season.

    That regression from the Bills never came, leaving the Patriots two wins short of McKone’s prediction. The rest was relatively accurate, between Jones putting together a solid season and Stephon Gilmore’s departure.

  • Sean Sylver

    First, let’s pause a moment while I pat myself on the back for correctly predicting the Patriots’ 7-9 record last season. There’s reason to believe this year will be better than the last, and it has little to do with the QB pick. The Mac Jones hoopla is out of control, which is why I’m going into his rookie campaign with zero expectations. While the other offensive upgrades make that unit passable, it’s the defense that will power this team into the playoffs. Put me down for 10-7 and a return to the postseason, if only for a weekend.

    For the second year in a row, Sylver’s prediction is right on the mark. Hey Sean, how about predicting a Super Bowl next year?

  • Joe Murray, Over/Under 98.5

    The Patriots will win 11 games. Mac Jones will be rookie of the year.

    Bold Prediction: Joejuan Williams will have 5 interceptions

    Both of Joe’s predictions were right on line until the final month of the season. As for his bold prediction – not quite.

  • Dan Lifshatz, Over/Under 98.5

    Pats go 9-8. Rookie Mac Jones plays well for the team but Pats just miss the playoffs.

    The Patriots slightly exceeded this pick, but it’s yet another case where faith in Jones proved true.

  • Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.Com

    The Patriots will win 11 games. How that fits in with the rest of the AFC is anyone’s guess. But my guess is that the Bills either win the tiebreaker at 11-6 or win 12 games to take the AFC East again. Pats host a wild card game and win it, but come up short against a better team/quarterback in the divisional round. Mac Jones will have a good rookie year in terms of managing games and protecting the ball, with the occasional big game through the air, but the defense – particularly the front-seven – will be the Patriots’ bread-and-butter. We’ll come out of the season saying the Patriots are back and headed in the right direction.

    BOLD prediction? Matt Judon is an All-Pro. Tough to predict first team with the talent at outside linebacker across the league. But Judon is a stud and will have a tremendous season as the Patriots’ best defensive playmaker, regardless.

    The Patriots coming up just short against the Bills in the division played out as predicted, as did Dolloff’s scenario of their playoff exit. As for the defense, they were the ‘bread-and-butter’ when the Patriots were playing well. Judon did receive All-Pro votes, so half credit for Matt there too.

  • Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.Com

    The Patriots will have a better season than the Bills. Either with a better record or with a deeper playoff run. There’s a lot of hype around the Bills, and for good reason given their strides in recent seasons. But there’s been a preeeeeeeetty consistent theme throughout life: Where there’s hype for a Buffalo sports team, misery and a crushing blow to the center of the Earth (where Ville Leino and EJ Manuel hang out these days) usually follows. I would like all the credit if this is correct, but none of the blame if it’s wrong.

    No blame Ty, no blame.

  • Mike 'Sarge' Riley, Wrestling Inside The Ropes

    Patriots put one foot in the water last year during unprecedented times and the results on the field showed. They made the off season additions and now with a Rookie quarterback starting under center for the first time since Drew Bledsoe has the interest level back.

    A new schedule format, it’s too bad the two byes are no longer in play. I’ll say Patriots 11-6 with an appearance in the AFC Championship game. Doesn’t mean they will win but they will be playing for the right to hoist the Lamar Hunt trophy the last Sunday of January.

    This is a little lofty from Sarge, although there was a point before the bye where it looked like it might come true.

  • Ryan Johnston, The Hockey Show

    My BOLD prediction is that the Patriots will win the AFC East. The combination of Mac Jones, the new talent at TE & WR, plus what I expect to be a pretty stout defense will put them in contention. The Bills will take a step back from the 13-3 record of last year and the Pats will get to host a playoff game at Gillette.

    Again, this one was close. The Bills regressed, but not nearly as much as Johnston or some others (myself included) may have expected.

  • Marshall Hook

    10-7. The defense will be good for a half those wins, bad opponents for another chunk meaning Mac Jones really only needs to turn up for a couple. I believe he will get in synch with the receiving corps – even Agholor – midway through the season and the Pats will rip off some wins in true NE fashion to end the year. They’ll squeak into the playoffs but make a first round exit.

    Hook almost had it. The end-of-year wins just never came.

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