After a tough 2022-23 season for the New England Patriots, the team loss in its season finale to the #2 seed Buffalo Bills 35-23 in Orchard Park New York. The whole NFL was supporting the Bills and its teammate Damar Hamlin after he went into cardiac arrest on the field after making a tackle last Monday night in Cincinnati. Hamlin has been recovering well in the University of Cincinnati hospital even talking to his teammates. As soon as the game started the 1st play of the game Bills running back Nyheim Hines ran back the kickoff for the touchdown. Then later in the game Hines did it once more.
Everyone knew the Patriots was the underdogs against Buffalo in todays game, especially on what transpired for the Bills this past week. Quarterback Mac Jones was 26-40, 243 yards, 3 TD’s and 3 INT’s. One of his better games of the season. Devante Parker had 6 receptions with 79 yards, adding 2 TD’s on the afternoon. Special Teams is what made the difference in the game, while the defense and offense played well, minus the interceptions. Patriots safety Devin McCourty had an interception in the game that might be his final one, but who knows what the future holds for him. Special team captain Matthew Slater was very emotional in the final moment of the game that might be his last game in the NFL. A lot of emotions was surrounding the team postgame including running back Damien Harris and David Andrews.
What’s Next For The Patriots
I know the season just finished up and questions are already surrounding the team. New England does need to hire an offensive coordinator whether it would be former OC Bill O’Brien that is currently on Alabama Crimson Tide coaching staff or seeing other options, or even in house candidates. You could see Mac regressed from year 1 with former OC Josh McDaniels to year 2 with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as “co coordinators”. Another area that should be addressed should be a true #1 wide receiver. Bill Belichick has strong praise for current Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins and he would be a big boost to the team. Hopkins is owed almost $20MM next season then in 2024 he is making almost $15MM. Belichick doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on players but we shall see.
Looking over at the defense, the Patriots do need a solid #1 cornerback to opposed Jalen Mills. After New England lost JC Jackson in free agency last offseason they have not replaced him. Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones is a pending Unrestricted free agent. I know New England will not pay him top market value dollar after what happened last season letting Jackson sign elsewhere.
2023 Patriots Opponents
Patriots 2023 opponents:
🏈 Home: Chiefs, Chargers, Eagles, Commanders, Colts, Saints, Bills, Dolphins, Jets
🏈 Away: Broncos, Raiders, Cowboys, Giants, Steelers, Bills, Dolphins, Jets
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 8, 2023
It’s super early to look at next years opponents but it seems like New England will have some games that will be not be easy to win. There are winnable games on the schedule, home and away and looking ahead at the postseason, the Patriots play well in the first half of the season and have a strong finish unlike this past season. Look for the team to bounce back and go through the offseason with key moves and players that will contribute in the fall.