Chaotic. Much like this year, the 2020-21 NFL season projects to be extremely chaotic; especially for this year’s New England Patriots. Despite the ongoing concerns of the Coronavirus, the numerous challenges the Patriots face on the field, have drastically impacted how oddsmakers view the team’s chances this season.
After a tumbling towards the finish line in the 2019 season, the Patriots saw the face of the franchise depart to Tampa Bay this offseason. Since, longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia left for retirement, while the defensive turnover is as long as a CVS receipt. Linebackers Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, and Elandon Roberts all moved on in free agency. The Patriots also led the NFL with eight player opt-outs, including a number of key starters such as linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon.
To make things even worse, the 2020-21 Patriots have the toughest schedule in the NFL based on average opponent win percentage in 2019, at .537. Even without Brady under center, New England still will be featured in the maximum five prime time games.
With a number of hurdles in their way, oddsmakers have pegged the Patriots with their longest Super Bowl odds since 2001 at +2500, which ranks eighth in the league.
“For many, the departure of Tom Brady in the off season signaled the end of an era for the Patriots,” said Oddschecker spokesperson Pete Watt. “New England’s odds to win the Super Bowl are the longest they have been since 2001 — the year after a young QB was drafted 199th overall from Michigan.”
While the Patriots have locked up the AFC East the past 11 seasons, their +140 odds this season place them behind the favorite Buffalo Bills. It has also been 11 seasons since New England has seen 10 wins or less, but this year’s win total falls right on 10.
Even though the Patriots odds have increased since the addition of former MVP Cam Newton, oddsmakers do not appear to be believers. Newton’s MVP odds come in at eleventh in the league at +3200, while the chances he leads the NFL in passing yards are far fewer at +8000 (22nd).
“The mercurial Cam Newton has been brought in to try and plug the void, but his MVP odds suggest that oddsmakers’ don’t think it will be a Patriots signal-caller who scoops the award,” said Watt.
With question marks all over the field, it will certainly be an interesting season for the New England Patriots. Only time will tell if Bill Belichick and co. can prove the odds wrong.