Are the Patriots Destined for Another 4-Win Season?

Aidan McGrath
Aidan McGrath@ffaidanmcgrath
Are the Patriots Destined for Another 4-Win Season?

How the mighty have fallen.

The New England Patriots have struggled in the post-Tom Brady years, bottoming out this past season with a 4-13 record. The campaign was rough enough that the team made the difficult decision to part ways with head coach/general manager Bill Belichick after 24 years together.

The 2024 season will be the dawn of a new era in New England, but it's fair to question whether or not that era will be a successful one. Their poor 2023 season earned them a top-three pick -- and a brand new quarterback -- in the 2024 NFL Draft, but he'll be inheriting one of the worst offenses we've seen in recent memory.

Expectations are not high for the Patriots this year. Their Win Total line on FanDuel Sportsbook is set at just 4.5 wins -- the lowest of any team in the NFL. They have the shortest odds to go winless (+3800) on the market and are the favorite to be the last remaining winless team at +680 odds.

Do they have what it takes to exceed a low bar this season, or will they fall even further in 2024 without Belichick's steady hand at the helm of the franchise?

All NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook, and they may change after the article is published.

New England Patriots 2024 Win Total Odds

Patriots Over/Under 4.5 Wins

  • Over: -162
  • Under: +132

Odds to Make the Playoffs: +880
Odds to Win the AFC East: +2700 (4th)
Odds to Win the AFC Championship : +10000 (16th)
Super Bowl Odds: +25000 (31st)

Key Offseason Coaching Changes:

  • Fired Bill Belichick
  • Hired Jerod Mayo as Head Coach
  • Hired Alex Van Pelt as Offensive Coordinator
  • Hired DeMarcus Covington as Defensive Coordinator

Why New England Could Win Over 4.5 Games

  • There's New Hope for the Offense
  • The Defense Should Be Great
  • 4.5 Wins is a Low Bar to Clear

The past few years have been pretty brutal for the Patriots' offense, with former players now speaking out about how poorly things had been run in their time with the team. Fortunately, things should be different in 2024 for a variety of reasons.

From the top down, the organization is starting fresh, bringing in Pats legend Jerod Mayo as the successor to Belichick as head coach and Alex Van Pelt as the new offensive coordinator. They'll be tasked with turning around an offense that tied for the fewest points (236) in the league last year while compiling the third-fewest total yards (4,696). An optimist could say there's nowhere for the offense to go but up.

Bringing in journeyman quarterback Jacoby Brissett could help establish normalcy in the quarterback room after the past few tumultuous seasons, but third overall pick Drake Maye is the biggest reason for optimism. Maye threw for 7,929 yards, 62 touchdowns, and just 16 interceptions in his two seasons as a starter in college while adding 1,147 rushing yards and an additional 16 scores on the ground.

With fellow rookies Ja'Lynn Polk and Javon Baker bolstering a depleted receiver corps, the Patriots' offense could take a pretty solid step forward in 2024.

The team's massive offensive struggles masked how good their defense was last year. No team in the league gave their opponents a better average starting field position than the Pats did, and yet their defense allowed their foes to score on the fourth-lowest percentage of those drives in the NFL (31.5%). That performance looks even better when we factor in the Week 4 losses of both top pass-rusher Matt Judon and first-round pick cornerback Christian Gonzalez.

The core of that strong defense will be returning for the upcoming season and should have reasonably high expectations of another great year under Mayo's guidance.

The Pats mustered up four wins last year with arguably the worst offense in the league. If their offense can take even a baby step forward, that could be enough in combination with their elite defense to get them over the five-win line here.

Why New England Could Win Under 4.5 Games

  • The Offense Could Still Be Bad
  • They Have the Toughest Schedule in the NFL
  • Bill Belichick Is Gone

The Patriots put in a real effort to improve their offense this offseason, but frankly, it just might not be enough.

Brissett has looked solid over the past few seasons as a bridge quarterback or spot starter, but he has a below-average 6.6 adjusted yards per attempt over his career. If Maye isn't ready in Year 1, we could see a lot of Brissett, whose career record as a starter is 18-30.

The offense offers another failure point for the team this year; they had arguably the worst receiver corps in the NFL in 2023 and may not have done enough to improve it.

Polk was the second-best receiver on the Washington Huskies last year and could now be asked to become an NFL team's WR1 -- quite a leap. He and fourth-rounder Baker will be competing against a mostly uninspiring group of gadget receiver Demario Douglas, slot receiver Kendrick Bourne (ACL), and career WR3 K.J. Osborn for looks during the upcoming season. There's a non-zero chance running back Rhamondre Stevenson finishes the year as one of New England's most productive receivers.

Even if that group is an improvement over last year, it might not be enough to help them win many games against arguably the hardest schedule in the NFL. Sharp Football's metrics rank the Pats' schedule as the second-hardest this year. They'll compete against a stacked AFC East while also taking on the toughest division in the NFC (the West) and a slew of other brutal AFC teams.

They don't have any free wins on the schedule and no longer have Belichick's one-of-a-kind football mind to guide them. Instead, they'll have a first-time head coach finding his way while leading an underwhelming roster. Belichick always seemed to have something up his sleeve, earning the Patriots surprise wins as underdogs multiple times over the past few seasons. We simply don't know if Mayo can do the same in his debut season.

A "successful" 2024 season for the Pats could still find them finishing with four or fewer wins by the end of the season. Maye could look like the quarterback of the future, Polk could look like a franchise wide receiver, and the defense could still be great -- and New England could still churn out fewer than five wins against a brutal schedule.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.