The climax of NFL Free Agency came when 42-year-old quarterback Tom Brady announced that he was leaving the New England Patriots. After 219 regular season wins, six Super Bowl rings, four Super bowl MVPs, three NFL MVPs and 14 Pro Bowl selections across 20 seasons, TB12 is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Despite the long-time quarterback not returning, the Patriots’ playoff odds still point to a postseason birth (-160), according to Bovada Sportsbook.
Patriots Odds to Make Playoffs
Even though there isn’t a definitive answer as to who will be Brady’s successor at quarterback, the Patriots playoff odds suggest they will make it a record-extending 12th straight season.
While the odds a predicting a postseason birth, they are not as favorable for winning the AFC East. In fact, it’s the Buffalo Bills who are expected to win the division (+115), as slight favorites over the Patriots (+130). Considering the perception of Buffalo as a team on the rise, buoyed by a superb defense and strong coaching, the fact that the Patriots could lose the most influential player in team history and still be close to favorites is quite impressive.
New England’s conference and Super Bowl odds see them relegated to longshots for the first time in a while. They have +1100 odds to win the AFC and +2200 to win the Super Bowl, which are identical with Buffalo’s odds.
Patriots Team Outlook
Brady might be gone, but Bill Belichick will still be roaming the sidelines as head coach. Much of the NFL’s best defense from a season ago (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings) will be returning, headlined by safety Devin McCourty, who signed a five-year extension. The biggest losses on the defensive side of the ball are linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy. The Pats will hope that free agent signee Brandon Copeland can help Dont’a Hightower stabilize the middle of the defense in their place.
On offense, second-year QB Jarrett Stidham is the heir apparent to Brady’s throne, although the Patriots may also pull the trigger on a signal-caller in the upcoming NFL Draft. Assuming Stidham is the Week 1 starter, he will have familiar backs Sony Michel and James White behind him, along with Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu as receiving targets. Last year’s first-round wide receiver N’Keal Harry will look to take a big step forward as well, after losing the majority of his rookie season to injury.
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