After an historic comeback to win Super Bowl 51, the New England Patriots may also be the winners of the offseason.
Not known for flashy free-agency moves, the Patriots had an unusual offseason in which they spent big to lure some big-name talent — a scary thought for the rest of the NFL.
Now, according to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, there is growing buzz that this Patriots team could go undefeated and win the Super Bowl, becoming the first team in NFL history to have a 19-0 season.
The Patriots nearly pulled off that feat in 2007 with a 16-0 regular season before losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. According to Freeman, people around the NFL think this team might be even better.
“We’ve all heard offseason “Patriots 19-0” chatter before, but not to the decibel you hear now when you talk to team executives and assistant coaches around the league.
“They think this is the year the Patriots win all their games, including the Super Bowl. This isn’t completely crazy since the Patriots came within a crazy helmet catch of doing it before.
“They believe the Patriots are set up for perfection better than maybe any team in history—including the only team to do it, the 1972 Dolphins, and the Patriots team that lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl after the David Tyree catch.”
The optimism makes some sense, too. Brady, of course, is still on top of his game, having posted one of his best seasons at age 39 last year. Bill Belichick is on board, as are offensive stars like Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, James White, and Dion Lewis. The Patriots also traded for tight end Dwayne Allen and wide receiver Brandin Cooks while signing Bills running back Mike Gillislee. There is a lot of fire power there.
The defense could improve, too. The Patriots re-signed key defenders like Dont’a Hightower, Alan Branch, and Malcolm Butler, while bringing in defensive lineman Kony Ealy and Bills cornerback Stephen Gilmore.
Freeman says Belichick may have built the “fastest, deepest” Patriots team we’ve ever seen.
Combined with a lack of true competitors in the AFC East and true competition in the AFC, the Patriots could be set up for an historically good season.