5 reasons Patriots can win the Super Bowl this year

HOUSTON, TX – DECEMBER 1: Joe Thuney #62, James Ferentz #66 and Shaq Mason #69 of the New England Patriots at the line of scrimmage during the second half of a game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Houston, Texas. The Texans defeated the Patriots 28-22. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

The reliable New England Patriots have won the AFC East the last 11 years.

To use a boxing term, they looked like a shot fighter. After an 8-0 start a year ago, the New England Patriots wilted the second half of the year. They split their final eight regular-season contests and were then stifled at home by the Tennessee Titans in the wild card round. It marked the first time since 2010 that the club did not reach the AFC Championship Game.

This offseason, quarterback Tom Brady and a slew of veterans are now elsewhere. More recently and significantly, the number of players opting out this year due to concerns over COVID-19 has reached eight (via Nicole Yang of Boston.com). Putting together a competitive team may indeed be a challenge.

But it’s going to be a different kind of season in the National Football League and an experienced organization could have a decisive advantage. So how can the Patriots get back to the “Big Game” and win it?

5. Better offensive line play

Bill Belichick’s club won a Super Bowl in 2018, besting the Los Angeles Rams in Atlanta, 13-3 – the lowest-scoring game in the series’ 54-year history. During the postseason, the club turned to a power running game and got excellent offensive line play from (left to right) Trent Brown, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon.

This past season, Brown left for the Raiders and Andrews missed the entire year. The former was replaced by 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn (who missed his entire rookie season) but he was available for only eight regular-season contests and the playoffs. Now Cannon has opted out for 2020 and highly-regarded offensive line coach Dante Sarnecchia has opted for retirement again.

The interior of this group is solid and experienced. If the Patriots are settled at the tackles, which also means Wynn staying healthy, this could be a return to power football ala late in ’18.

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