After months and months without football, the Patriots’ 2023 season is only a day away from kicking off.
The Patriots host the reigning NFC East champion Eagles in their regular-season opener Sunday. As there’s been lots of speculation and predictions on how the Patriots will perform in 2023, optimism surrounding the team appears to be at a low point in the Bill Belichick era.
Let’s take one last look though at what oddsmakers are projecting for the Patriots and a few notable players on the eve of the 2023 season, with all odds coming from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
Win total: 6.5 wins (-140 Over/+120 Under)
Odds to make the playoffs: +245 (No -310)
Odds to win the AFC East: +800
Odds to win the AFC: +5000
Odds to win the Super Bowl: +6500
Many of these odds are the lowest they’ve been for the Patriots since Belichick became head coach in 2000, including their +6500 odds to win the Super Bowl.
There is some history on the Patriots’ side though that indicates that they might not be as bad as some of the odds say. The Patriots have lost fewer games than their projected win total (which originally opened up at 7.5 but fell to 6.5 in recent weeks) just once in the Belichick era, which was in his year when they won just five games. The team has also never finished with two consecutive losing seasons and hasn’t missed the playoffs in back-to-back years under Belichick’s watch.
Of course, Tom Brady was at quarterback in order to help make that possible. But the Patriots still had a playoff appearance in 2021 with rookie Mac Jones at quarterback and went 11-5 with Matt Cassel playing in place of an injured Brady for just about the entirety of the 2008 season.
But as the Patriots hold the worst odds to win the AFC East and fourth-fewest odds to win the AFC, a lot of that has to do with the emerging talent around them. The Jets added Aaron Rodgers over the offseason while the Bills have won the AFC East over the last three seasons. The Dolphins also appear to be on the upswing after making the playoffs last year.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft recently told reporters that he doesn’t mind his team being viewed in the fashion they’re being viewed in.
“I sort of like that people are picking us to come in fourth in the division,” Kraft said.
Passing yards total: 3,199.5 (+600 to reach 4,000 passing yards, +5000 to reach 5,000 passing yards)
Odds to lead the league in passing yards: +5000
Passing touchdowns total: 19.5
Odds to lead the league in passing touchdowns: +5000
Interceptions total: 11.5
Odds to lead the league in interceptions: +1600
Odds to win MVP: +6500
Odds to win Offensive Player of the Year: +20000
There isn’t much faith among oddsmakers that Jones will have a major bounceback season after struggling in Year 2.
Jones is on the lower end among starting quarterbacks’ odds to win MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.
The stat totals are roughly in between to how Jones performed in his first two seasons. He threw for 2,997 yards in 14 games last season after tossing for 3,801 yards as a rookie. He had 14 passing touchdowns last year, eight fewer than the 22 he threw for as a rookie. He also had 11 interceptions last year, two fewer than what he threw as a rookie.
While Jones’s odds to lead the league in interception appear high, they’re actually closer to the middle of the pack. He’s tied with Geno Smith, Bryce Young, and Anthony Richardson for the 11th-highest odds to lead the NFL in interceptions in 2023.
Rushing yards total: 850.5
Odds to lead the league in rushing yards: +2900
Rushing touchdowns total: 5.5
Odds to lead the league in rushing touchdowns: +3000
Rushing and receiving yards total: 1,225.5
Odds to win Offensive Player of the Year: +7000
Oddsmakers don’t believe Stevenson will put up stats as strong as last season, but they’re projecting him to have another good year in 2023.
Stevenson is tied for the ninth-best odds to lead the league in rushing this season after he finished 13th with 1,040 yards last season. So, the 850.5 rushing yards total is nearly 20 percent fewer than what he had last season. But with the 1,225.5 yards from scrimmage total, oddsmakers think that Stevenson will have a similar impact in the passing game as he had last season, when he recorded 421 receiving yards.
Stevenson has actually never rushed for more than five touchdowns in a season, posting that number in each of his first two years in the league. Splitting carries with Damien Harris (who had 15 touchdowns in Stevenson’s rookie season) might have played a hand in that. But Stevenson will be sharing carries with arguably one of the best goal line backs in the NFL this season.
With Stevenson’s dual-threat ability, he holds the 11th-best odds among running backs to win Offensive Player of the Year, but is still considered a longshot to win the award.
Rushing yards total: 425.5
Rushing touchdowns total: 4.5
Odds to lead the league in rushing touchdowns: +7500
Elliott enters his first year away from the Cowboys with low expectations from oddsmakers, who project him to have career lows in the two biggest rushing stats.
Even though Elliott arguably had the worst season of his career in 2022, the 28-year-old still cleared his projected rushing yards and touchdowns total for 2023 by a lot last year. He ran for 876 yards (a career-low) and 12 touchdowns, which were tied for the fifth most in the league.
If Elliott is mostly used in the red zone, then he won’t have as many opportunities to put up big rushing yard totals. However, the Patriots lack much depth behind him and Stevenson, so he could have plenty of opportunities to get carries in the open field.
Sacks total: 11.75
Odds to lead the league in sacks: +3000
Odds to win Defensive Player of the Year: +5000
Oddsmakers like Judon to have another strong season for the Patriots.
The Pro Bowl edge rusher has actually had the two best seasons of his career in each of his first two years in New England. Judon had 12.5 sacks in 2021 before setting another career-high in sacks with 15.5 last season, which was tied for the fourth-most in the NFL.
While Judon finished close to the top of the sacks leaderboard last season, oddsmakers don’t view it too likely that he leads the league in sacks. His +3000 odds to do so are tied for the ninth-best with three other players. A recent ESPN analytical model recently projected Judon to finish with nine sacks in 2023 as well.
If Judon is able to lead the league in sacks though, he’d stand a good chance at winning Defensive Player of the Year. Seven of the last 12 winners have been edge rushers, with the last two winners being the players that led the league in sacks.
Odds to win Coach of the Year: +3000
No active coach has won more Coach of the Year awards than Belichick, who has three of them. However, Belichick hasn’t won one since 2010.
A big reason for that is likely due to the Patriots’ expected strong results through much of the last two decades. Many of the recent Coach of the Year winners have gone to coaches who helped their team make the playoffs or lead the league in wins when they weren’t expected to do either, such as Matt Rhule with the Giants last season or Kevin Stefanski with the Browns in 2020.
So, Belichick could be in a good position to win the award this season if the Patriots make the playoffs or unexpectedly win the AFC East.
Other player odds
Kyle Dugger interceptions total: 2.5
Christian Gonzalez interceptions total: 2.5
Christian Gonzalez odds to win Defensive Rookie of the Year: +1400
Demario Douglas odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year: +15000
Kayshon Boutte odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year: +15000
Keion White odds to win Defensive Rookie of the Year: +25000
A few other Patriots players have some notable odds listed for achievements this season.
Dugger, a fourth-year safety, has actually cleared the 2.5 interception total in each of the last two seasons, posting three in 2021 and four last season.
Gonzalez, the Patriots’ first-round pick, holds the fourth-best odds of winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. Cornerbacks have historically struggled to win the award over the years with only three corners winning the award since 2000. But Sauce Gardner might have bucked the trend last year, winning the award as he recorded two interceptions and was a shutdown corner for the Jets.
Douglas, Boutte, and White are all unsurprisingly viewed as longshots to win Rookie of the Year on their respective sides of the ball. The last five Offensive Rookie of the Year winners have been first-round picks while the last four Defensive Rookie of the Year winners were first-round picks.
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