The Patriots have a lot to play for in the 2016 season. They will definitely be at the top of teams contending for Super Bowl 51, which will be played at NRG Stadium in Houston on February 5, 2017. One of the highlights of the season will include a home-coming for Tom Brady, who will likely make his first career start in San Francisco against his hometown 49ers team.
- Super Bowl Victories (5): The first milestone would be Super Bowl #5 for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, which would tie and set an NFL record for Super Bowls won by a player and head coach respectively. For Brady, that means most ever by a starting quarterback. In addition, a 5th franchise Super Bowl would put the Patriots at second most all-time, behind the Pittsburgh Steelers while tying the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys.
- Brady Win Total (201): The next milestone is Brady's personal win total as a starting QB in the NFL. Brady is currently 194-60 as the starter and only needs 6 wins to tie Peyton Manning (200-92) for most wins ever by a starting QB and 7 to take the record for himself. It's not a question of if, but when it happens because realistically we can expect at least 12 wins for the team in 2016. Assuming that is still the case, Brady will likely finish the 2016 season at 206-64. My estimation is that milestone will occur in Week 9 of the 2016 season.
- Consecutive Playoff Appearances (8): The Patriots are expected to take the division in 2016 by people not trying to make click-bait, hot-take articles. That would push the Patriots playoff streak to eight seasons, the longest active streak tied with the Green Bay Packers. That would also mean their 8th straight division title. That mark would tie the 1983-1990 49ers, 1972-1979 Steelers, and 1973-1980 LA Rams for 2nd longest streak of all-time. The longest playoff streak in the NFL is 9 consecutive seasons, but that's an issue for 2017.
- Consecutive AFCCG Appearances (6): Of those past 7 years, the Patriots have clinched a top-2 seed in the last 6 years and advanced to the Championship Game in 5 straight years. The 2011-2015 Patriots have tied the 1973-1977 Raiders for AFC Championship Game appearances. In addition, they are tied with the Broncos and Steelers for most championships won with 8. Getting to the AFC Championship would give the Patriots their AFC record 6th straight appearance. The Patriots overall have been to 10 of those games since 2001.
- Super Bowl Appearances (9): The Patriots are tied with the Steelers, Broncos, and Cowboys for most Super Bowl appearances in the NFL. Between those four teams, that's roughly a third of the Super Bowl appearances for four franchises. The AFC is wide open in 2016 and it's the Patriots conference to lose at this point, depending on how the Broncos and Steelers re-group this offseason. Of the Patriots 8 Super Bowl trips, 6 of them have been since 2001.