Coming off one of the most eventful offseasons in franchise history, the New England Patriots are heading into their 2020 campaign with plenty of questions. How will Cam Newton fare as Tom Brady’s successor? How will a defense that lost five of its eight most featured players fare after being the best in the league in 2019? Who will be the kicker? Will the lack of a real offseason be a problem for a team with that many changes?
One after the other, those questions will eventually be answered — maybe not just yet during Sunday’s regular season opener against the visiting Miami Dolphins, though. What we do know, however, is that the upcoming season is one of the most intriguing in recent memory simply because nobody outside of Gillette Stadium knows what to expect from Bill Belichick’s team.
With all that said, there is some optimism in New England as well. As the latest results of SB Nation’s Reacts survey show, 81 percent of Patriots fans feel confident in their team. This is very much an average score compared to the other 31 teams, but it shows that the outlook is not as bleak as it could be in Year One after Brady and with plenty of personnel turnover in all three phases.
That said, the Patriots’ fan confidence score ranks only 19th league wide. One of the fan bases more confident in its team is the Dolphins’.
The team’s situation is somewhat similar to the Patriots in that there were plenty of changes during the offseason. A serious argument can be made, however, that the Dolphins are a vastly superior team to the one that started Brian Flores’ first year as a head coach 12 months ago. While it may not yet become a consistent competitor for the AFC East title just yet, there is a lot to feel good about in Miami.
The Reacts score reflects this: 90 percent of Miami fans participating in the survey are feeling good about the state of the club entering the regular season. Of course, it would be a shame if some unpredictable team were to come and destroy that score as early as the first game of the season... which is exactly the dream-crushing business the Patriots were in regularly over the last two decades.
Just last year, despite the season ultimately ending in disappointment, New England knocked off the teams supported by supremely confident fan bases such as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ and the Buffalo Bills’. Beating the Dolphins on Sunday would be more of this, and a sign that the old saying can ring true: the more things change, the more they stay the same
If you are interested in participating in our NFL Reacts survey, please sign up here!