Patriots projection for 2022 season

Henry McKenna
Patriots Wire

The New England Patriots have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL and plenty of uncertainty with no coordinator on offense (or defense) in Mac Jones’ second season.

But USA TODAY’s Nate Davis, in his record projections for all 32 teams, thinks New England can sneak into the postseason. He ranked the Patriots as the sixth-best team in the AFC and projected them to finish with a 10-7 record, just good enough for a second consecutive postseason berth under Jones.

There should be some question about the end of New England’s schedule, with a handful of extremely tough matchups, including two against the Buffalo Bills. But Davis was actually concerned about how the Patriots might start since the early part of their schedule is road-heavy.

The games in Miami and Pittsburgh aren’t all that worrisome. The Dolphins are acclimating to their new head coach, Mike McDaniel, and a new roster of offensive talent. The Steelers are working with new quarterbacks Kenny Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky. The difficult part of the schedule might very well come at the end — and that might be where the Patriots falter and, ultimately, come to miss the playoffs.

Davis expects Jones and head coach Bill Belichick to jell and keep New England's history of winning secure.