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40 predictions for the Patriots 2017 season

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With training camp upon us and just over a month left until the Patriots kick off the new season, it’s time to make some predictions about the season.

NFL: New England Patriots-Training Camp Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

You can almost taste it, can’t you? Training camp is here, the yearly UDFA standouts are starting to get hyped up in practice, and Tom Brady is still Tom Brady. Football is here, and the regular season is oh so close. As of this writing we are 40 days from opening night when New England hosts the Chiefs, so in natural sports blog fashion, it’s time to make 40 predictions—ranging from seemingly inevitable results to flaming hot takes—about the Patriots 2017 season. Let’s get into it.

  1. Kyle Van Noy gets cut. Van Noy, Shea McClellin, and possibly Jonathan Freeney are likely fighting for one roster spot with David Harris in the mix now. McClellin has an extra year and more dead money on his deal, so he gets the edge to stick around.
  2. Dion Lewis makes the roster. With Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee in the fold—along with Super Bowl hero James White—there’s speculation that Dion Lewis could be the odd man out in the backfield. Lewis fully healthy is more dynamic than the aforementioned trio.
  3. No UDFA make the team. Fans already love WR Austin Carr out of Northwestern, but it’s hard to picture the team keeping 12 RB and WR’s combined, so unless Lewis or Danny Amendola get cut, there isn’t a path to the roster for Carr, or likely any other UDFA.
  4. Be on the lookout for my colleague Doug Moore’s full roster prediction in the coming weeks, but here’s my position by position roster prediction in terms of number of that position kept on the roster. Offense: QB/3, RB/5, FB/1, WR/6, TE/3, OT/4, IOL/4.
  5. Defense: IDL/4, EDGE/4, OLB/4, ILB/2, CB/6, S/4.
  6. Specialists: K/1, P/1, LS/1.
  7. Mike Gillislee leads the team in rushing yards.
  8. Rex Burkhead leads the team in rushing touchdowns.
  9. James White leads the team in RB receptions and yards.
  10. Dion Lewis sees limited touches, maximum efficiency, and continues to return kicks.
  11. Malcolm Mitchell has the third most receptions among the wide receivers.
  12. Chris Hogan has the second most touchdowns among the wide receivers.
  13. Brandin Cooks leads the team in reception touchdowns among the wide receivers.
  14. Julian Edelman leads the team in receptions among the wide receivers (sense a theme? Cuts aren’t gonna be made and players won’t be phased out, the love will be spread).
  15. Ted Karras makes the roster.
  16. Malcom Brown leads the defensive tackles in snaps.
  17. Trey Flowers, with other true threats around him, hits double digit sacks, mostly from the interior.
  18. Patrick Chung plays less than Duron Harmon (I badly want to say he gets cut, but I don’t think the Patriots pull that trigger).
  19. The Patriots sweep arguably the best division in football, the NFC South.
  20. The Patriots do not sweep arguably the best division in football, the AFC West.
  21. The team they lose to in the AFC West is likely the last one you would guess (more on that later).
  22. Tom Brady throws for 5,000+ yards.
  23. Tom Brady throws for 40+ touchdowns.
  24. Tom Brady wins his 3rd MVP.
  25. Derek Rivers records 5 sacks as a rookie. Some fans question his worth, not realizing 5 sacks as a 3rd round rookie is extremely promising.
  26. Stephen Gostkowski returns to being Stephen Gostkowski, makes second team all-pro.
  27. Malcom Brown and Trey Flowers make their first pro bowl.
  28. Dwayne Allen becomes one of the fans favorite punching bags.
  29. Rob Gronkowski records his 6th double digit touchdown season.
  30. The Patriots have double digit pro bowlers: Brady, Cooks, Gronkowski, Hightower, Devin McCourty, Malcolm Butler, Brown, Flowers, Gostkowski, Matthew Slater.
  31. Elandon Roberts finishes the year seeing the field more frequently than David Harris.
  32. Nickel corner is consistently the weakest role on the entire team. Eric Rowe is much better suited to play outside, and the Jones’—Cyrus and Jonathan—prove maddeningly inconsistent. Malcolm Butler is forced into a slot role more frequently to compensate.
  33. Danny Amendola plays more playoff snaps than regular season snaps, despite making it through the year healthy.
  34. Tom Brady retires after the year and I curl into a fetal position.
  35. Season prediction: KC/W, @NO/W, HOU/W, CAR/W, @TB/W, @NYJ/W, ATL/W, SD/L, @DEN/W, @OAK/W, MIA/W, @BUF/W, @MIA/L, @PIT/W, BUF/W, NYJ/W. 14-2. 1 seed.
  36. Divisional Round vs Tennessee. W.
  37. Conference Championship vs Pittsburgh. W.
  38. Super Bowl vs Green Bay (Finally). W.
  39. Tom Brady Super Bowl MVP.
  40. VIII Rings.