Experts' predictions for 2020 Pats are all over the map originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
New England Patriots fans are used to glossing over preseason predictions.
You can't blame them, either: With Tom Brady under center, the Patriots were a virtual lock to go 11-5 or 12-4, win the AFC East and advance to the AFC Championship Game.
It's safe to say that certainty has gone out the window.
Brady and talented defenders like Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins (free agency) and Dont'a Hightower and Patrick Chung (opt-outs) are out, while 31-year-old quarterback Cam Newton is in.
Will Newton jell with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and play at a Pro Bowl level to guide the Patriots to their 12th consecutive AFC East title?
Or will the nine-year veteran's shoulder and foot injuries catch up to him in a rebuilding year for a team that lacks offensive weapons and lost several veteran leaders this offseason?
We can speculate, but we really have no idea what the 2020 Patriots will look like, especially with COVID-19 delaying the start of live practices and canceling the entire preseason.
That uncertainty means the experts' predictions about the Patriots are as varied as we've seen in the last two decades.
Want proof? Here's a roundup of major outlets' projections for the Patriots this season:
Tom E. Curran, NBC Sports Boston: 8-8 record, miss playoffs
Peter King, NBC Sports: Miss playoffs
ESPN.com: 5-11 record, miss playoffs
Cynthia Frelund, NFL.com: 8.3 wins, projected AFC Wild Card team
FiveThirtyEight: 9-7 record, 57% chance of making playoffs
John Breech, CBS Sports: 10-6 record, win AFC East, lose to Ravens in AFC Wild Card Round
Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated: 10-6 record, win AFC East
Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated: Make playoffs as Wild Card team, lose to Texans in AFC Wild Card Round
Maurice Moton, Bleacher Report: 8-8 record
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: 9-7 record, make playoffs as Wild Card team, lose to Bills in AFC Wild Card Round
Good luck finding an NFL team projected to finish anywhere between 5-11 and 10-6.
So, if Bill Belichick wants to give his team bulletin board material for 2020, he won't have to search very hard.