Why one sportsbook is setting Patriots' 2020 win total at historic low

Why one sportsbook is setting Patriots' 2020 win total at historic low

Be prepared to watch a .500 team in New England this season.

That statement would have been laughably inaccurate for most of the last two decades. But many believe the Patriots will be average at best after Tom Brady bolted to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In fact, one sportsbook is banking on that result.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Caesars Sportsbook released its NFL win totals Thursday and has the Patriots set at 8.5 wins in 2020. That's the Patriots' lowest opening win total in Vegas since 2003 and the lowest number of any sportsbook across the board: William Hill pegs New England at nine wins in 2020, while DraftKings Sportsbook has the team at 9.5 wins.

Care to explain, Caesars?

"My raw number on the Patriots is less than eight [wins]," Caesars head oddsmaker Jeff Davis told ESPN. "Outside of the secondary, which is one of the best in the league, the rest of their roster I think is one of the worst in the NFL."

That's a hot take, but it's not far-fetched. Current starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who attempted four passes last season, has a skeleton wide receiver crew (for now) outside Julian Edelman and no quality tight ends to speak of. (Sorry, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo.)

Listen and subscribe to Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast:

The Patriots boasted the NFL's best defense in 2019 but lost Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Duron Harmon (among others) this offseason. They don't even have a kicker right now after releasing Stephen Gostkowski.

So, while some oddsmakers still have New England (barely) winning the AFC East, Davis has the Buffalo Bills as the division favorites at +100.

"I'm just not buying this team at all," Davis said of the Patriots. "This team will show just how good (Bill) Belichick and his staff are, compared to some of the other staffs. This might be the year that reality sets in with New England."

Of course, Belichick is the X-factor who could make Davis eat his words. The greatest coach of all time hasn't finished worse than 9-7 in New England since 2000 and still has the 2020 NFL Draft to improve his roster.

Oh, and that 2003 season? The Patriots went 14-2 and won the Super Bowl.

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

Updated Patriots cornerback depth chart after Michael Jackson trade with Lions

The New England Patriots added even more depth to an elite group of cornerbacks Sunday by acquiring Michael Jackson in a trade with the Detroit Lions.

Jackson, who's listed at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, was a fifth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2019. The Detroit Lions signed him off the Cowboys practice squad last season and he played in one game for the NFC North team.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Here's an updated look at the Patriots' cornerback depth chart with Jackson in the fold:

--Stephon Gilmore
--Jason McCourty
--J.C. Jackson
--Jonathan Jones
--Joejuan Williams
--Michael Jackson
--Myles Bryant
--D’Angelo Ross

It should be noted that Justin Bethel is listed at cornerback, but most of his snaps come on special teams. 

A strong case could be made that cornerback is the deepest position on the Patriots roster. The group is led by Stephon Gilmore, who became the first Patriot ever to win the AP's NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019. Gilmore is the league's best cornerback and has earned first team All-Pro selections in back-to-back seasons. 

He's not the only talented cornerback in the Patriots secondary, though. 

J.C. Jackson excelled in coverage last season, too, especially on passes beyond 20 yards. In fact, Jackson had the lowest passer rating allowed when targeted of all cornerbacks in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.

One of the most intriguing players in the Patriots secondary is second-year cornerback Joejuan Williams. He was a second-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2019 but saw limited playing time as a rookie.

The depth of the Patriots defense has been hit hard in recent months due to free agent departures and veterans opting out of the 2020 season amid concerns over COVID-19. One position that has remained largely intact is cornerback, and barring any significant injuries, it could be the team's most productive position this coming season.

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

Patriots acquire CB Michael Jackson in trade with Lions

The New England Patriots have added another cornerback to their depth chart.

On Sunday, they announced they've acquired Michael Jackson from the Detroit Lions for an undisclosed 2022 draft pick.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft (158th overall) by the Dallas Cowboys out of Miami. He started his rookie season on Dallas' practice squad before being signed by Detroit.

The 23-year-old played in only one game last season for the Lions.

Jackson joins a Patriots cornerback group that currently consists of Stephon Gilmore, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Jason McCourty, J.C. Jackson, D'Angelo Ross, Justin Bethel, and Myles Bryant.