Friday, August 19, 2022

Patriots schedule 2022: Game-by-game predictions, opponent win totals, record projection

New England’s return to the playoffs in 2021 wasn’t met with a deep run as their division rival in the Buffalo Bills made quick work of the Patriots to send them home for the year. Since then, however, the club has made a number of additions to the offense to help Mac Jones as he is set to enter his second year in the league. If he is able to make a similar leap in Year 2 to what other young quarterbacks have done throughout the league in the past, the Patriots will be back in the postseason conversation and possibly even advance beyond just the first round. 

Below, you’ll find out early predictions for every single game on the Patriots’ 18-week regular-season schedule:

Week 1 at Dolphins

Line: Dolphins -2.5 | Opponent wins: O/U 8.5

Miami has gone all-in this offseason, bringing in the likes of Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, and a bunch of running backs to surround Tua Tagovailoa. While the Dolphins have certainly improved from the club that swept New England a year ago, it’s going to take them some time to jell, giving the Patriots an early opportunity to jump into the win column.  

Prediction: Patriots win 27-21

Record: 1-0

Week 2 at Steelers

Line: Patriots -1.5 | Opponent wins: O/U 7.5

Pittsburgh will either be rolling out Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett for this matchup. I’ll bank on the rookie winning the job in camp and beginning the year as the starter, which is good news for Bill Belichick who feasts on first-year signal-callers. This situation will be no different. 

Prediction: Patriots win 28-20

Record: 2-0

Week 3 vs. Ravens

Opponent wins: O/U 9.5

Baltimore was bit pretty hard by the injury bug last offseason and missed the playoffs because of it. Now that they’re fully healthy, they should return to being one of the elite teams in the AFC, which is bad news for New England. Lamar Jackson gives this defense headaches all afternoon with his legs and arm and spoils the home opener. 

Prediction: Patriots lose 30-21

Record: 2-1

Week 4 at Packers

Opponent wins: O/U 11

Green Bay will have had roughly a month to figure out a pecking order for their offense at the receiver position in the aftermath of trading away Davante Adams this offseason. Even with a receiver unit that is lacking star power, Aaron Rodgers makes do and shows the Patriots defense why he is the defending back-to-back MVP.    

Prediction: Patriots lose 33-24

Record: 2-2

Week 5 vs. Lions

Opponent wins: O/U 6

Detroit was a scrappy team last season even if their 3-13-1 record didn’t exactly show it. They prove to make things a bit tougher on the Patriots than expected in this game, but Bill Belichick’s ground attack led by Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson pull away against a run defense that ranked 31st in the NFL last season. 

Prediction: Patriots win 27-17

Record: 3-2

Week 6 at Browns

Opponent wins: O/U 9.5

This game is a tricky one to predict as we don’t know who’ll be under center for Cleveland at this stage of the season. For this exercise we’ll put forward a scenario where Deshaun Watson has been suspended six games by the NFL, making him unable to play against New England. That’ll thrust old friend Jacoby Brissett into the starting spot, which is a much easier matchup for Bill Belichick’s defense. 

Prediction: Patriots win 24-20

Record: 4-2

Week 7 vs. Bears

Opponent wins: O/U 6.5

This matchup pits two first-round quarterbacks from the 2021 NFL Draft against one another for the first time in their careers. While Mac Jones certainly has more weapons at his disposal than Justin Fields does in Chicago, it’ll be a fascinating duel nonetheless. That said, Jones balls out against his draft classmate with one of his best performances of the season on Monday night. 

Prediction: Patriots win 33-21

Record: 5-2

Week 8 at Jets

Opponent wins: O/U 5.5

New York made strong strides in their rebuild this offseason, but this club is still a ways away from true contention. Zach Wilson will make life more challenging for the Patriots defense at home, but New England will still get the better of them and pull out a win on a short week. 

Prediction: Patriots win 23-20

Record: 6-2

Week 9 vs. Colts

Opponent wins: O/U 9.5

Indy is a far superior club to what they were in 2021 largely thanks to their upgrade at quarterback going from Carson Wentz to Matt Ryan. While that change at quarterback will certainly help them against the Patriots, it’ll be Jonathan Taylor who puts a dagger into this New England defense in a similar fashion to when he rushed for 170 yards in their matchup last season. And just like that, the four-game winning streak is snapped.

Prediction: Patriots lose 27-17

Record: 6-3

Week 11 vs. Jets

Opponent wins: O/U 5.5

New England heads into the bye with the sour taste of a loss to the Colts, which is bad news for New York. The Jets will roll into Gillette Stadium against a motivated and well-rested Patriots team, who proceeds to have a dominating day defensively and constantly has Zach Wilson on the move. 

Prediction: Patriots win 33-17

Record: 7-3

Week 12 at Vikings

Opponent wins: O/U 9

The Patriots will be spending Thanksgiving in Minnesota where they’ll play the finale of the NFL’s triple-header against the Vikings. This will be a tough matchup for this Patriots defense with Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson being the primary weapons for Kirk Cousins. However, Cousins’ struggles in Thursday games (3-5 in his career) are highlighted and help the Patriots pull off the upset. 

Prediction: Patriots win 27-24

Record: 8-3

Week 13 vs. Bills

Opponent wins: O/U 11.5

We have to wait all the way until Week 13 to see the Patriots face Buffalo, but it’s more of the same as what we saw for the bulk of last season. The Bills use this game to show the 8-3 Patriots that they are still a tier above them in the divisional hierarchy and put together a dominating display on offense that Mac Jones is simply unable to contend against.  

Prediction: Patriots lose 33-21

Record: 8-4

Week 14 at Cardinals

Opponent wins: O/U 9

The Patriots get the unfortunate draw of facing the Cardinals late in the season, meaning they will square up against wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has been suspended for the first six weeks of the season. While that makes for a tough matchup for the Patriots secondary, Bill Belichick does have extra time to prepare for this Monday Night Football game after playing on Thursday in Week 13. That should be enough time to formulate a plan to negate this high-flying offense. 

Prediction: Patriots win 33-27

Record: 9-4

Week 15 at Raiders

Opponent wins: O/U 8.5

Arguably the most anticipated matchup on the Patriots regular season schedule comes in Week 15 when it’s the student (Josh McDaniels) vs. the master (Bill Belichick). Naturally, this primetime affair in Las Vegas will catch the attention of the entire league, and it’ll be McDaniels who gets the better of his former team. While Belichick may be the more decorated coach, McDaniels has the better roster with Derek Carr throwing to Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, and Davante Adams, while having pass rusher Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones on the other side pressuring Mac Jones. 

Prediction: Patriots lose 30-17

Record: 9-5

Week 16 vs. Bengals

Opponent wins: O/U 9.5

The defending AFC champs roll into Foxborough on Christmas Eve and will be going up against a gassed Patriots team. New England will be coming off four-straight primetime games and it’ll show in this matchup against Joe Burrow in the Cincinnati offense. 

Prediction: Patriots lose 33-20

Record: 9-6

Week 17 vs. Dolphins

Opponent wins: O/U 8.5

Typically, facing the Dolphins late in the year is a nightmare recipe for the Patriots. Thankfully for Bill Belichick and company, this late-season affair takes place in New England as opposed to Miami, which will help them stop the skid and get into the double-digits in wins. 

Prediction: 

Record: 10-6

Week 18 at Bills

Opponent wins: O/U 11.5

Unless the No. 1 seed is already locked up, Buffalo will be firing on all cylinders in the final week of the season. In a similar result to what we saw in Week 13, the Bills give the home crowd a statement win to show they are primed for another deep playoff push. 

Prediction: Patriots lose 33-24

Record: 10-7

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