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The State of the Patriots: Accountability Check Revisited

Related: Coping With Loss: Miami Dolphins Edition

NFL: New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the regular season is over, it’s time to pay the piper.

Back when the New England Patriots were sitting at 2-4 and he uncertainty was palpable, I asked anyone who was willing to predict where the season would finish out in an article titled The State of the Patriots: Accountability Check in which I asked you all to predict where the Patriots would end up when it was all said and done. And as always, the Pulpit community delivered.

There were almost 230 comments on the article, so I won’t be able to call everyone out here; some of you are off the hook. But for others, you’re about to get blasted. Some of you were spot on, in which case you deserve some credit.

You can read all predictions here — but below represents what I think is a good cross-section of what folks thought would be the final result of the 2021 season. There are a few quotes I may have cut for brevity, but none of those cuts represent any kind of alteration of the overall tone of the prediction.

I of course need to start with myself. Unlike last time, where I predicted 11-5 and a bye (in which they went 11-5 and got the two seed), I wasn’t quite as accurate this time. My prediction was half-right — though I don’t know if predicting a loss at Miami should represent any kind of inside knowledge or skill:

Pats are 9-7 going into the last week of the season, at Miami, with a “win and in” on the line. They lose, drop to 9-8, and miss the playoffs. - Alec Shane

Oh well. At least I wasn’t as far off as some of you:

My prediction at the start of the year was 10-7. My prediction now is 5-12. - SkiGuy

I can only see the Pat’s with 5 wins this season. An offense is only as good as it’s offensive line. Why did we sign Trent Brown? No running game means no play action means Mac Jones gets hammered week after week. Poor kid does not deserve this. - SoxRule

This team looks like the definition of mediocre. To shake things up while they’re down in Texas, Pats trade Mac Jones, Jonnu Smith and two first round draft picks for Watson and bring him home with them. They go on a run and finish the year 12-5, edging out Buffalo for the division but ultimately losing in the AFC championship game. A new dynasty has begun! And if they don’t make the trade they go 8-8-1. —aredsoxfan1

It’s very hard to see this team finishing with more than 6 or 7 wins. The D is and will remain the strength of the team, playing good enough to keep many games close. But the offense, led by a rookie QB, is in full rebuild mode. They can’t run the football, they can’t protect the quarterback, and they have no home run threats. I don’t see these problems magically disappearing, but hey, there’s always hope, right? Right. Sure, Mac is bound to play better as he learns and matures, but he could also get injured the way the line is playing now. And at any rate, as good as he has looked—I’m really stoked for the future—rookie QBs in the NFL just don’t win games all by themselves. 6-11, or 7-10 if the RBs stop fumbling. - IluvMaryJane

A few of you were right on the money:

I think we’re a good team, obviously rebuilding, competitive, dead cap space is costing us at least one premium player, perhaps two, The cap was always going to bite us. I would take a winning season and think we will achieve that. I’m going 9-8 as a minimum and 11-6 as a max and scraping into the play offs. So 10-7 it is! - Welsh Patriot

Health is always the caveat, but I’m predicting: 10-7 I think they’ll come together as a defense and see Mac Jones becoming a QB who performs well enough to win a playoff game by the end of the season. I’m not sure the line will live up to preseason expectations but I think it plays at least a little bit better by mid season. - Somename27

People are so used to the perennial success of NE that they panic way too easily when theyre not winning all the time. Even last year felt horrible but in reality they had an average nfl year at 7-9. How often have we seen Ne teams develop cohesion after poor starts to the season? I’d be willing to bet the oline will get at least to the average level, and that mac will only continue to develop and he will lead the team well with BB. 10-7 and playoffs is still very reasonable. - Linollieum

I swear, Patriots fans have to be the most depressed fans in all of sports. I’ve seen happier Falcons fans after their SB loss to us than most of the commenters on here after a regular season loss. -JaysFanAtlanta

Some of you were in the neighborhood, but miss a few key points:

This all leads to a 10-7 season where we sneak into playoffs and the run game really clicks. We smack up a pretender in the first round, and have a close game in the next. We win and meet the Browns in the AFC game where Mayfield chokes big time. We win the Super Bowl over the Rams the same way we started the franchise and insanity follows as we realize we live in a time loops that occurs every 20 years. -CautionPatsHard

There were, of course, a few of you who didn’t take this quite as seriously as others:

14-3 and a SB win to kick off 3 straight SB wins. Canton makes an exception and inducts Mac into the HOF in 2025 while he’s still in his prime. Tom Brady goes on cable news, tearfully recites a slam poem, and asks to be signed as our new backup, a job he holds until he retires at age 60. - red_curry_paste

I 100% Gar-un-tee they will be 14-3 or 13-4 or 12-5 or 11-6 or 10-7 or 9-8 or 8-9 or 7-10 or 6-11 or 5-12 or 4-13 or 3-12 or 2-13 or 1-16 And I can’t wait to refer back to this comment and say I told you so at the end of the season! - Pats Fan in Oregon

Overall, the usual hodgepodge of predictions. But I feel like we should all be incredibly happy with 10-7 and a playoff berth.

Maybe the Patriots will make some noise in the postseason.