The New England Patriots don’t have much to worry about at this time of year, as usual. A 12-3 record has helped them clinch the AFC East, giving them a comfortable spot position in the playoff picture. However this New England team is different from those in years past.
The Patriots don’t have dynamic offensive weapons like they used to. Rob Gronkowski’s retirement dealt a huge blow to the team, and neither Antonio Brown or Josh Gordon could stand the test of time this season. But Tom Brady’s familiarity with Julian Edelman and a phenomenal defense have been enough to get the job done for the franchise that seems to always come out on top.
The Patriots have never been a team to select the most coveted draft picks, but they do have a knack for finding hidden gems and attracting premier free agents. If they want to sustain their dynasty, a few positions should be addressed.
One of the biggest holes in New England’s offense is at the tight end spot. It has been forced to replace a Hall of Fame talent like Rob Gronkowski with Matt Lacosse, who has only tallied 13 receptions for 131 yards this season. Acquiring another player who can reduce the pressure on receivers would benefit Brady and the pass catchers out wide. Another important asset the Patriots need is a quality backup, successor for Brady, who is 42 years old and has limited time left in the NFL.
The 2019 NFL season is coming to a close and while the playoffs are just arriving, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020. We won’t know the full regular season schedule until April, but even with the 2019 season not finished, we know each team’s list of opponents. The NFL has a formula they use to determine opponents, with divisions and conferences rotating each year.
The Patriots face their divisional opponents a total of six times. The AFC East faces the AFC West, which adds four more opponents. The AFC East faces the NFC West, which adds four more opponents. The final two opponents are the teams that finish in the same standing position in the AFC North and AFC South.