19-0 Watch, Vol. 1: Patriots' quest for perfect season begins Thursday

19-0 Watch, Vol. 1: Patriots' quest for perfect season begins Thursday

Are the Patriots going to go 19-0? That looked like a “probably” before training camp and it’s since been demoted to a “maybe.” Either way, the Pats are good enough to do it and it will be on our minds until they lose a game.

So with that in mind, we’ll keep a close watch on the potential perfect campaign, taking into consideration what’s going on with future opponents and whether the Pats end up being as dominant as initially expected. From week to week, we’ll revise expectations for each part of the schedule, with a number between zero and 10 assigned to the chances of the Pats getting upset.

Here’s the first installment:


Kansas City is going from a playoff team that’s played it safe to a team trying to transition on the fly. For now, they’re still Alex Smith’s team. 

There’s just too much going for the Pats. They aren’t injured enough for health to tip the scales, plus it’s both a season-opener (of which they’ve won eight straight) and a home game against a non-divisional opponent (of which they’ve won 24 straight).

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as good as Andy Reid’s clock management. 3.4/10


The Pats will have nine days of rest and the Saints, who open with Monday Night Football, will have five. Unless the Pats lose both quarterbacks against the Chiefs, the Saints should be easy prey. That defense stinks.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as bad as that mean man I encountered in New Orleans who tricked -- nay, intimidated -- me into giving him $20 for what he said was a free shoe shine. 2.0/10


The Texans will be better-rested than the Pats, as they’ll be coming off a Thursday game in Week 2. They’ll presumably be 1-1 or 2-0 given that they face the Jaguars and Bengals in Weeks 1 and 2, respectively, but say they’re upset by the Jags in the opener and then stumble on short rest. Is there any possibility in which they would use the extra time ahead of Week 3 to switch from Tom Savage to Deshaun Watson? Would that be cruel of Bill O’Brien?

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as good as that little blurb I just wrote about an unlikely hypothetical quarterback situation was interesting. 3.6/10


This game might be the Panthers’ first real challenge of the season after opening with games against the 49ers, Bills and Saints. The questions about the Patriots’ pass rush may be mounting by then, but it’s unlikely the questions about the Panthers’ offensive line will have gone away.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as bad as that stupid Fresh Prince thing the Panthers did on Twitter. 2.9/10


The Bucs are the darlings of season previews. Season previews love The Next Step™ and that’s what people see taking place in Tampa.

This will be Doug Martin’s second game back from suspension, but who cares about Doug Martin? He stinks. This team is all about Jameis Winston, who is really good, but he throws a lot of picks (second in the league with 18 last season). Know who eats up teams prone to turnovers? Everyone, but especially Bill Belichick.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as low as we'll all feel when the Bucs don't take The Next Step™. 2.1/10


Lmao the Jets stink.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: nonexistent. 0/10


All the ingredients for the Super Bowl hangover are there, which is compounded by the loss of Kyle Shanahan, but this is still a monster of an offense. Never underestimate a team that’s been embarrassed.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: at least better than the chances of a 25-point comeback. Don’t rule it out. 4.4/10


Two keys to a potential upset for LA: Philip Rivers avoiding turnovers and Joey Bosa getting after Tom Brady like a mad man. The Chargers can only hope that Mike Williams will be on the field and will have hit his stride, but he’ll have to deal with either Malcolm Butler or Stephon Gilmore.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: a tad better than you probably think, but still outrageously small. 2.8/10


Who knows who will be under center for Denver come Week 10? I bet he’s not very good.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as good as the Broncos’ chances of having a good quarterback. 3.6/10


This is one to watch. Pretty good opponent, unusual setting, Marshawn Lynch playing football in 2017. There’s a lot of variables here. It should scare you.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: perhaps as big as they’ll be all season. 4.9/10


The Dolphins won’t be a 4-12 team. They’ll be fine with Jay Cutler, but great beats fine every time.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as real as Cutler’s broadcasting career. 2.2/10


Is this the year Sammy Watkins stays healthy and takes over the league? If it is, he’ll be doing it with the Rams while the Bills hope Zay Jones turns into a star.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as high as the chances of the Bills freeing Anquan Boldin so he can sign with the Patriots. 1.4/10


Sometimes, the Patriots lose games in Miami. All the time, Jay Cutler sucks against the Patriots.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: low, yabish. 3.8/10


The Steelers will be playing for more than the Pats will at this point, as New England will almost surely have the AFC East sewn up, while the Steelers might still be jockeying for position with the Bengals and Ravens. This might be one where the Patriots’ actual desire to have a perfect regular season (they’ll act like they’re not focused on it) is tested.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as real as Zolak’s voice in Mike Tomlin’s headset. 4.8/10


LeSean McCoy might be battling for the league lead in rushing yards by this point, but the Bills sure as heck won’t be fighting for a playoff spot. They won’t have much to play for; the Patriots could rest Brady and still win.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: as high as Steve Hauschka at a baseball game. (Steve Hauschka is by all accounts a model citizen with no history of drugs, nor has he ever gotten in trouble at a baseball game.) 1.2/10


Lmao the Jets stink. Plus the No. 1 overall pick could be on the line for them in this game.

The chances of the Patriots losing are: The most nonexistent. -10/10

'Leprechaun' Gronk dropping more hints about future plans - sort of

'Leprechaun' Gronk dropping more hints about future plans - sort of

Rob Gronkowski, decked out in his finest St. Patrick's Day duds over the weekend in Nashville, reportedly tried to shed some light on his NFL future.

Of course, while Gronk was doing Gronk things, he told a Patriots fan one thing and a reporter another.

Breech is an NFL writer for His father is former Cincinnati Bengals kicker Jim Breech. And the "69ers" aren't a real team.


AFC East is starting to prepare for post-Brady life

AFC East is starting to prepare for post-Brady life

The Patriots' "direction" never really changes. They're always "going for it" because they're always one of the best teams in the league. 

The rest of the AFC East is usually in flux. The other teams range from hoping for 8-8 to trying to bottom out in hopes of a high draft pick. Yet right now, it seems the stars are aligning and that the Jets, Bills and Dolphins all have the mindset: Change things now and be ready to pounce once Brady is gone. 

The Jets traded up to No. 3 on Saturday, assuring themselves a chance at one of this draft's top quarterbacks. The Bills, with picks Nos. 12 and 22, are expected by pundits to make a similar move up. The Dolphins, fresh off cutting bait with Ndamukong Suh in an attempt at a culture change, have the 11th pick and could use it on a quarterback to either push or replace Ryan Tannehill. 

None of the three teams are close to pushing the Patriots as long as Brady's around, even with the Bills coming off a season in which they reached the playoffs. Yet there's a two-or-three-year plan on which all three teams could have designs: Get the quarterback now, build around him and be in a good situation by the time Brady is done. 

We've seen these teams try to rebuild before during the Brady Era, with only limited success. Mark Sanchez worked out better in New York than anyone could have initially expected, but that success lasted way shorter than any believers could have hoped. Now, it seems they try again. 

Over in Buffalo, the end of the Tyrod Taylor era hardly means the beginning of the Nathan Peterman era. Those two first-rounders should easily be able to get the Bills into the top five, and they've also got two second-rounders and two third-rounders. Hell, they have the pieces to get to No. 1 if Cleveland is bold enough to pass on their choice of Darnold/Rosen/Allen/Mayfield. 

The Dolphins are in the more interesting spot. Tannehill missed all of last season and he's 29. If you're six years into your career and your team still isn't totally sure if you can be one of the better QBs in the league, you probably aren't one of the better QBs in the league. At the very least, Lamar Jackson should be there at No. 11. They could also trade up. 

At the start of last season, the Patriots had far and away the two best QBs in the AFC East. Now, it stands to reason that at least two of their divisional opponents (the Jets and Bills) will come away with what they hope are franchise quarterbacks. And if any of these guys hit, the Pats will have gone from the best QB situation in the NFL to seeing some actual competition waiting for them by the time their own quarterback is done. 

Of course, all three of these teams usually suck at everything, so it shouldn't be a big deal.