The New England Patriots have a tough schedule this year, but a double-digit win season is not off the table. New England face one of the league’s strongest schedules. However, their off-season additions could be enough to lift them to 10 wins or more. As such, look for New England to be a sleeper team in 2023.
The 2023 slate.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 12, 2023
New England Have Strong Schedule, But Double-Digit Wins In Reach
The last time the Patriots’ win total was set that low was in 2001, when they won the first of six Super Bowls during the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era. A Super Bowl is a stretch for this year’s New England team, but a double-digit win season is possible.
This year, the New England Patriots have one of the hardest schedules. Most online sports books have the Patriots’ over-under win total set at 7.5. On the surface, Belichick’s side indeed looks to be around that number. However, taking a deeper dive, the Patriots could overcome their tough schedule and be a double-digit win team.
In 2023, New England have the third hardest strength of schedule (.549). This is the league’s third toughest, behind just the Miami Dolphins (.554) and Philadelphia Eagles (.566). When basing the strength of schedule on 2023 projections rather than 2022 records, New England arguably has the hardest strength of schedule.
Strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams in 2023:
1) #Eagles: .566
2) #Dolphins: .554
T-3) #Giants: .549
T-3) #Patriots: .549
T-3) #Cowboys: .549
6) #Jets: .545
7) #Bills: .542
8) #Commanders: .535
9) #Rams: .533
10) #Raiders: .524
11) #Cardinals: .519
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) May 11, 2023
An Overview Of New England’s Off-Season Additions
With the odds stacked against the Patriots, the optimism for this team comes in two forms. The first is that the offense has a real offensive coordinator in Bill O’Brien. The second is that the Patriots defense, which was historically good last year, got even better this off-season.
Offensively, New England should be a more complete unit than they were a year ago. With two significant departures in Damien Harris and Jakobi Meyers, the Patriots churned their offensive personnel. As such, O’Brien can look forward to utilizing the new playmakers. The most important factor with the offense is that, with two above-average blocking tight ends, the offense will look more like it did in the early 2010s when O’Brien had his first stint with the Patriots as their offensive coordinator.
Tight ends Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry are both talented receivers, too. Thereofore, the combination of their blocking and pass-catching ability should help relieve some of the pressure on Mac Jones. New England filled their need for lineman depth in the draft so that the only knock one could make on the offense is that they do not have a real game-breaking player on offense. Their closest contender would be Rhamondre Stevenson.
Defensively New England have got better. They retained every defensive player from last year, excluding Devin McCourty, who retired. They drafted the top cornerback in the draft to shore up thier secondary. They also drafted an edge rusher, and a depth linebacker. The Patriots defense will be the driving factor if the team are to be competitive this year. Like last year, the defense will have to make plays to help support an offense with question marks.
First reps in Foxboro. pic.twitter.com/Es9y8VBJyS
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 15, 2023
How The Patriots Win Double-Digit Games in 2023: A Prediction
In the AFC East, New England went .500 last year. However, this will be more difficult with the New York Jets‘ addition of Aaron Rodgers. On paper, the Jets are a better team now, but the Patriots have dominated the Jets for over a decade. Indeed, the trade for Rodgers may not even work out in 2023 (or at all).
The Dolphins’ quarterback situation still seems shaky with Tua Tagovailoa and his head injuries. As such, the offense may not be as electric as last year. The Patriots could sweep both the Jets and Dophins, which would be unlikely, but not impossible.
Outside of the AFC East, the Patriots can do some real damage. The Cowboys, Saints, Raiders, Commanders, Colts, Giants, Chargers, Steelers, and Broncos all feel like games New England can (and should) win. On paper, the Patriots have a real shot at a stellar season if things go right.
Predicting the Patriots Schedule
Vs Philadelphia Eagles, Loss
Vs Miami Dolphins, Win
@ New York Jets, Loss
@ Dallas Cowboys, Win
Vs New Orleans Saints, Win
@ Las Vegas Raiders, Win
Vs Buffalo Bills, Loss
@ Miami Dolphins, Loss
Vs Washington Commanders, Win
Vs Indianapolis Colts, Win
@ New York Giants, Win
Vs Los Angeles Chargers, Win
@ Pittsburgh Steelers, Loss
Vs Kansas City Chiefs, Loss
@ Denver Broncos, Win
@ Buffalo Bills, Loss
Vs New York Jets, Win
Overall 2023 record: 10-7
Main Photo: Kris Craig/The Providence Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK