Sep 8, 2023 - Sports

How to fake it: What to know about the 2023 New England Patriots

Joshuah Bledsoe #24 and the rest of the Patriots get ready to take the field for their preseason game against the Tennessee Titans last month. Photo: Silas Walker/Getty Images

The Patriots' regular season kicks off Sunday in Foxborough with a game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

  • When you find yourself at a tailgate party feeling anxious about your season knowledge, let us help you prepare.

Driving the news: Welcome to Patriots rebuilding, season four. The cast of main characters hasn't changed much, but a behind-the-scenes addition might make this the year the Pats finally find their post-Tom Brady identity.

Threat level: New England finished last season with eight wins and nine losses after losing the playoff wild card game to Buffalo.

  • Since then, the talk has been about whether quarterback Mac Jones would return to lead the team in 2023.
  • That speculation ended last week when coach Bill Belichick cut the two other QBs from the preseason team, leaving Jones as the only quarterback on the roster.

Catch up quick: Tom Brady left for Florida four years ago. That was also the last season the Pats won a playoff game.

  • The once-dominant team has only won half their games in the four seasons without Brady.

What's new: Belichick brought on offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien this season to support Jones and fix last year's scoring problems.

What they're saying: "Belichick is making a massive bet that O'Brien steadies a turbulent ship and provides offensive stability that allows for a proper assessment of Jones while complementing what should be a good defense," the Athletic's Chad Graff wrote.

  • Patriots Insider's Tom Curran agrees: this season isn't about wins, he wrote for NBC Sports. It's about quality control.

What's next: Including Sunday's opener, the Patriots' have a tough early schedule, with the Jets, Dolphins and Cowboys. All are seen as tests for Jones and the offense.


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