The worst? In 21 years? We think we will take that bet.
To some, 2022 looks like it could be an uphill battle of a season for the New England Patriots - so uphill that Bleacher Report projects that the Patriots will go 7-10 this year.
The prediction comes on the heels of the 2022 NFL regular season schedule having been released on Thursday, May 12.
Should its level of difficulty have Pats fans drooling with anticipation? Or squealing in horror?
Bill and Mac
B/R obviously leans toward the latter response, suggesting that not only will the Patriots be bad - they will be just-above-the-Jets bad, as New York is projected to go 6-11.
The Miami Dolphins are projected to be slightly better than the Pats with a projected record of 9-8 and the Buffalo Bills - understandably so - are predicted to again win the division ... with a projected record of 13-4.
By those numbers, B/R essentially thinks the Bills are worthy of twice as many wins as New England. What's the logic?
“The New England Patriots waved goodbye to key players, which raises some concerns,” the B/R said. “The Patriots let cornerback J.C. Jackson walk in free agency, traded guard Shaq Mason and cut linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Also of note, they haven’t re-signed longtime Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, whose best years may be behind him. All of those players logged a significant number of snaps last year.”
It can be assumed that B/R also disliked the Patriots draft, and we will also buy that there will be a period of adjustment as young QB Mac Jones begins work under a coaching staff that no longer includes Josh McDaniels, who left the Patriots to become head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Last we checked, the Patriots haven't even officially named a new offensive play-caller. And yes, in a normal situation, that might be cause for confusion and for concern.
But at the risk of taking contention for granted: If coach Bill Belichick isn't panicking over the changes, why should anybody else? Ultimately, Belichick's moves are both the source of questions ... and are the answers as well.
And 7-10 sounds like an insult to us.