Patriots

Here's why Patriots' 2019 schedule could set them up for Super Bowl repeat

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Here's why Patriots' 2019 schedule could set them up for Super Bowl repeat

The New England Patriots will be the defending Super Bowl champions entering the 2019 NFL season, and the strength (or lack thereof) of their schedule should be among the reasons for optimism surrounding the team's chances of successfully defending its title.

The Patriots are tied with four other teams for the second-easiest 2019 schedule, based on opponents' combined win percentage from the 2018 campaign. New England's 2019 opponents had a 2018 win percentage of just .473, according to John Breech of CBS Sports. Only the Washington Redskins have an easier 2019 schedule.

Here's a look at New England's 2019 schedule. Keep in mind dates and times for all games have not yet been finalized. 

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The Patriots, as winners of the AFC East, will again play a first-place schedule. However, they also will play the AFC North and the NFC East. The NFC East is a competitive division but it's not home to any juggernauts. Same for the AFC North, which could have four solid teams in 2019 thanks to the Cleveland Browns' resurgence, but there's no elite team that will scare the rest of the conference.

And, of course, the Patriots will play six games against the lackluster AFC East. New England went 5-1 against its division rivals last season, and that only loss was the disaster against the Dolphins in Miami.

The Patriots went 11-5 in the 2018 regular season before a dominant playoff run that ended with a Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams. It was the Pats' worst regular-season record since 2009. The odds of the Patriots failing to win 12-plus games next season should be pretty low, especially when you factor in their easy schedule and the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs matchup will again be at Gillette Stadium.

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Tom Brady recruits Zdeno Chara as Rob Gronkowski's replacement

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Tom Brady recruits Zdeno Chara as Rob Gronkowski's replacement

Tom Brady has an idea for Rob Gronkowski's replacement at tight end, and it doesn't involve free agency or the upcoming NFL Draft.

The Patriots quarterback had a light bulb go off above his head while watching the Bruins take on the Maple Leafs in Game 7. Why not have 6-foot-9, 256-pound defenseman Zdeno Chara give tight end a shot?

All jokes aside, Brady has been one of Chara's biggest fans during the Bruins' first-round series. He also left a motivational comment on Chara's Instagram post prior to Tuesday night's Game 7 matchup.

As for what the Patriots are really doing to fill Gronk's void at tight end, they signed both Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse in free agency during the offseason. It remains to be seen whether they'll address the tight end position during the NFL Draft, which begins April 25.

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Next-Pats Podcast: Draft week is finally here; Mike Lombardi talks assessing talent

Next-Pats Podcast: Draft week is finally here; Mike Lombardi talks assessing talent

At last, the draft has arrived - almost. Phil Perry talks to former Patriots staffer Mike Lombardi as the annual selection of talent looms.

3:42 - Phil Perry is joined by former assistant to the Patriots coaching staff, football analyst and writer for the Athletic Mike Lombardi. The two begin by discussing the validity of certain reports on players in the upcoming draft.

7:44 - Are the Patriots in a position where they need to pick a quarterback this year? Lombardi explains how difficult it is to judge talent because of the difference in the level of competition in college football.

12:26 - Lombardi talks about how this year's draft could be weak compared to previous years' and how the Patriots should approach their selections because of that.

18:36 - Phil goes through his final mock draft, with the picks being decided by the fans via Twitter polls.


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