Opinions are divided on where the New England Patriots currently sit in the NFL's hierarchy.
One thing that cannot be questioned is the Patriots are in unfamiliar territory entering the 2020 season. For the first time since 2002, the Patriots will begin a new campaign without Tom Brady as the team's starting quarterback after he left the franchise in free agency and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His departure leaves 2019 fourth-roud draft pick Jarrett Stidham as the likely starter, and while the former Auburn star has shown flashes of his impressive talent, it's still way too early to know if he'll be a competent pro player.
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New England's defense was the its strength in 2019, and that side of the ball has seen its depth hit hard by free agency. Linebackers Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts all found new teams as free agents last month, as did defensive tackle Danny Shelton and safety Nate Ebner. Veteran safety Duron Harmon was traded to the Detroit Lions as well.
One constant for the Patriots is head coach Bill Belichick, and if you're bullish on the 2020 Patriots' chances of success, it should start with him. Belichick is the best coach in the history of the league, and his teams often are better prepared than the opponent.
Oddsmakers are more optimistic about the Patriots than a lot of media experts. For example, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Patriots among the 10 teams with the best odds to win Super Bowl LV. DK also has the Patriots as the betting favorites to win the AFC East for the 12th consecutive season, and with strong -215 odds to make the playoffs.
The outcome 2020 NFL Draft will have a tremendous impact on how the upcoming season plays out, particularly for the Patriots, who made 10 picks and addressed several roster needs.
A fresh batch of expert NFL power rankings have been published over the last few days as we try to determine the strength of each team following the latest draft. Here's a roundup of where the Patriots sit in post-2020 NFL Draft expert power rankings.
2020 NFL power rankings roundup: Where Patriots stand after latest draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston