2018 PATRIOTS SEASON PREVIEW & NFL FUTURES LINES
Looking for 2018 New England Patriots predictions? We’ve got your back. It was another typical year for the New England Patriots. They cruised through the AFC with relative ease before facing off with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC title game. It was a game, in which, was close and competitive. The Patriots went on to win before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in a game where defense was optional. The Patriots will look to keep on rolling along this season with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady leading the way.
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2018 New England Patriots Super Bowl Odds +600
Patriots 2018 AFC Championship Odds +260
Patriots 2018 AFC East Odds -650
Patriots Season Win Totals Lines – 11
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2018 New England Patriots Predictions: Roster Changes
The Patriots lost a number of players via free agency, but they also made a couple of significant additions. In particular, on the defensive side that will certainly make a major impact.
First though, let’s take about who they lost. Malcolm Butler – who didn’t play on the defensive side in the Super Bowl – left town, obviously. That was still a weird situation that, basically, cost the Patriots a Super Bowl.
Cameron Fleming and Nate Solder, the two starting tackles from last season left. The offensive line was a struggle last year and losing two good tackles won’t help matters.
Dion Lewis and Danny Amendola both left, but those aren’t really significant losses. The Patriots have players like them with their skill sets that can replace them. The Patriots have done that for years and that’s nothing new.
The last real significant loss for the Patriots was losing Brandin Cooks, but that was a trade; so, at the very least, the Patriots gained some compensation over it.
A trade, in which, was basically a win-win for both teams. The Patriots got the Rams’ 23rd pick in the draft and a sixth round pick. While the Rams got a deep threat playmaker to add to their Madden looking video game type offense.
As for the additions, the Patriots added two key pieces in Danny Shelton to plug up the defensive line and Jason McCourty to shut down one side of the field at cornerback. Essentially, replacing Malcolm Butler.
The Patriots also added Adrian Clayborn as an edge rusher, halfback Jeremy Hill, and Troy Niklas at tight end.
All in all, did the Patriots improve in the offseason? I think so, especially when you throw in the fact that they drafted potential contributors in Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel.
You can’t underestimate the lose of Flemming and Solder will be, but they did address the offensive line in the draft and they did replace Butler will McCourty.
Plus, grabbing Shelton and teaming him up with Malcolm Brown will be, at least on paper it is, one of the best run stopping defensive lines in the NFL.
Also, while Clayborn might not be the biggest name in the NFL, he was basically the best edge rusher in the free agent market this year. Obviously, the Patriots desperately needed to address that need and they did.
2018 New England Patriots Predictions: Offense
The New England Patriots, statistically, had the best offense in the NFL and that shouldn’t change this year. They’ll be right up there, so long as Tom Brady stays healthy.
The Patriots, on paper, don’t really have that explosive of an offense on paper. Sure, they still have Rob Gronkowski at tight end, but the wide receiver position doesn’t have that one playmaker that you need to be aware of at all times.
The Patriots still have Julian Edelman, but he will be suspended for the first four games. Plus, Edelman not being there that isn’t that big of a deal.
While the Patriots may not have that one game changing wide receiver. They have depth at wide receiver and they can rotate guys in and out. Jordan Matthews, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, and Cordarrelle Patterson all will get playing time and have the opportunity to take the bull by the horns, if you will.
Also, don’t forget that the Patriots will use their halfbacks out of the backfield to keep the offense moving in the right direction.
James White will be the third down back that catches passes out of the backfield; Rex Burkhead will be involved as well.
Rookie Sony Michel will be someone to watch out for in preseason to see how much he progresses and if he can crack through the top of the halfback depth chart.
Also, don’t forget about Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee. They’ll be right there competing for playing time and will more than likely play a part some weeks.
2018 New England Patriots Predictions: Defense
The defense was historically bad to start the season last year. As usual, though, the Patriots got better as the season progressed and they turned into a pretty solid defense.
They weren’t a shut down defense by any means, but they limited the big plays and held offenses to field goals instead of touchdowns. They did a good job in not breaking as teams got into the red zone.
The Super Bowl was a different story, however, as the Patriots didn’t look the same without Butler in there starting on the defensive side of the ball.
Heading into this year, the Patriots look like they should be better. They addressed their need of an edge rusher in Clayborn, they beefed up the interior with the Shelton signing and they replaced Butler with McCourty.
Plus, D’onta Hightower will be back from injury stabilizing the linebacking core.
All in all, on paper, this looks like a good defense. The defensive line is good, pressuring the quarterback could still be an issue, but at least it has been addressed and should be better than last year.
The back seven looks very strong with the McCourty brothers, Stephon Gilmore, and Patrick Chung shutting down the passing game.
2018 New England Patriots Handicapping: (Strengths/Weaknesses)
The strength of the Patriots starts with Belichick and Brady. So long as those two are manning the ship the Patriots will be just fine. That’s the real strength of their team .
Offensively, they have players that fit the offensive system the Patriots employ. Their halfbacks will catch the ball out of the backfield, causing mismatches with linebackers and their wide receiver will look to catch the ball in some space. And, of course, Gronkowski is his own beast, so long as he is healthy.
The weakness for them offensively, is their offensive line might actually be a little worse than what it was last year. If that’s the case, the could pose a problem, obviously, in protecting Brady and trying to establish a running game.
Defensively, the core looks like their secondary. Gillmore and McCourty are two of the best cornerbacks in the game. They can hold their own with any of the best receivers in the game.
With Shelton in the middle along with Brown and a healthy Hightower, running on the Patriots could pose a problem, as well.
The weakness that could hold them back is the fact that they may not be able to rush the passer as effectively as they would want.
They snatched Clayborn away from the Atlanta Falcons to help boost that area in the game. It helps, but it might not be enough to garner a constant, reliable, pass rush.
2018 New England Patriots Prediction (Final Record): 12-4
The New England Patriots have the benefit of playing in the AFC, playing AFC East opponents for half their games and as a result have a cupcake schedule. You can basically lock in ten wins for them and a division title and, more than likely, a bye in the playoffs.
Realistically, I could see them losing on the road at Jacksonville. It’s September and the Patriots won’t care as much as the Jaguars. Jacksonville’s stadium will be rocking as much as it can and the players will be fired up and the heat could play a factor.
The next landmine is probably in December in Pittsburgh. That’s about it, really. They could go 14-2, I don’t see that, they could beat Pittsburgh, but lose to, I don’t know, Buffalo on the road on Monday night; maybe even against Miami – they seem to have their number weirdly enough.
Maybe Aaron Rodgers will stay healthy and win a shootout at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night. There aren’t a whole lot of spots where the Patriots might lose.
All in all, I’ll give the Patriots a 12-4 record. That seems like a pretty safe bet. Which means, the over of 11 hits and unless something drastic happens to the Patriots or someone in the AFC steps up the Patriots have the potential to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Again.
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