Despite the disappointing finish to the season, the Patriots odds to win the Super Bowl next season is the best in the NFL, which should serve as some consolation as they go into the offseason.
Another consolation for New England is the fact that five of their players landed in the Pro Football Focus top 101 players list, which means more than the NFL rankings done by the NFL Network during the offseason because this takes mostly statistics into account and isn’t a popularity contest.
The five Patriots players to make the list are Tom Brady
, Rob Gronkowski
, Stephon Gilmore, Trey Flowers and Dion Lewis.
Brady, who led the league in passing yards this season and won the MVP at 40-years-old, finished second on the list to Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald, who was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL this season.
, who led the Patriots in receiving yards and touchdowns, finished eighth, which is impressive considering he was coming off an injury the previous season.
With Brady expected to be back next season and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spurning the Indianapolis Colts to remain in New England, the Patriots will once again be one of the top offensive teams in the league.
The fact that they will also have Julian Edelman
back next year, after missing the entire 2017 season with a knee injury, will make them even more dangerous.
The Patriots do have some issues to address during the offseason, the biggest of which is their defense, especially their lack of pass rushers. In previous seasons, head coach Bill Belichick traded away players like Chandler Jones, who were efficient pass rushers, thin king he would replace them through the draft or free agency.
However, the strategy now seems to have backfired after last year’s lack of a pass rush, which forced the team to pick up James Harrison late in the season.
With free agency and the NFL Draft
coming up, the Patriots will have a chance to address the issue, since they will have the San Francisco 49ers
second round pick which they received as compensation for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Patriots will also have to consult with Gronkowski to see where his head is at because he said shortly after the Super Bowl that he was considering retiring. If Gronkowski retires, it will be a big blow to the Patriots offense because he is Brady’s safety net.
But, they can still make some moves if he lets the team know his intentions before free agency starts so they can either resign Martellus Bennet, who also hinted at retirement during the season, or go after some other tight ends in free agency.
If the Patriots can’t find the right player in free agency, they could pick up a tight end in the draft. But they will need Gronkowski to let them know what his plans are before they can proceed.
If Gronkowski returns and Edelman is healthy next season, there is no reason the Patriots shouldn’t win their sixth Super Bowl.