New England Patriots 2024 predictions: Drake Maye emerges, a new era begins in Foxboro

Will rookie sensation Drake Maye begin a new era in New England in 2024?
Drake Maye
Drake Maye / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The Patriots begin their rebuild this season under new head coach Jerod Mayo, who steps in after Bill Belichick's 24-year tenure. The team also has a new franchise quarterback, Drake Maye, selected with the 3rd overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. This article presents ten predictions on how the team's season will unfold.

1. Drake Maye will take over as the starter in week six

The Patriots have announced Jacoby Brissett as their starting quarterback for training camp, but the question remains: when will Drake Maye take over? I predict Maye will step in by Week 6 against Houston, whose pass defense ranked 20th in the NFL last season. By then, the Patriots could be 0-5 or 1-4, making it the perfect time to look toward the future.

2. Patriots offense will focus more on the running game

One thing New England will likely do to help their quarterbacks is run the ball much more this season. Last year, the team only only ran the ball 24.4 times a year last season which ranked 26th in the NFL. However, new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt who comes over from Cleveland worked on an offense that ran the ball 29.9 times per game which ranked 5th in the NFL. Look for him to again focus on the running game this year, and also heavily rely on play-action passes in the passing game

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3. Ja'Lynn Polk will catch at least 40 passes this year

One of the biggest weaknesses of the Patriots last season was a lack of talent at the wide receiver position, having ranked 28th in team receiving grade according to Pro Football Focus. The team also didn't sign any big free agent signings with the only receiver they added who could make an impact this season is K.J. Osborn who finished fourth in receptions for the Vikings last year. This means the team will likely count on second-round pick Ja'Lynn Polk to carry a large load this season.

4. Kendrick Bourne will lead the team in receiving yards

While rookie Ja’Lynn Polk will make a big impact this season, look for Kendrick Bourne to lead the team in receptions. Last season Bourne was only able to play in eight games before suffering a torn ACL. In those eight games though he was able to catch 4.6 passes a game, which led all Patriots receivers in receptions per game. Look for him to stay healthy this season, and be New England's go-to receiver.

5. Joe Milton won’t make the active roster

New England added three quarterbacks this offseason with the signing of Jacoby Brissett and drafting Drake Maye and Joe Milton III. However, look for the team to keep Bailey Zappe as one of their three quarterbacks. This means sixth-round pick Joe Milton will not make the active roster. Instead, look for the team to add him to their practice squad where he can improve on his accuercey to go along with his elite arm strength

6. New England will have a top-ten defense

Last season, the Patriots finished 14th in the NFL in points allowed per game giving up 21.5 points. Look for that number to improve this season though as New England gets back several key players this season who suffered serious injuries last year. The team will also likely control time of possession more this year, which will limit their opponent's chances of scoring this season.


7. Matthew Judon will lead the team in sacks

One of those key players who returns this season is outside linebacker Matthew Judon. Last season, Judon was only able to play in four game last year before suffering a torn lower bicep which sidelined him for the rest of the season. Prior to the injury though Judon was having an elite season averaging a sack a game. This season Judon will hopefully remain healthy and will likely lead the team in sacks.

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8. Christian Gonzalez will lead the team in interceptions

The team also lost star cornerback Christian Gonzalez in the fourth game of the season to a torn labrum. However, in the three full games he was healthy in he was a standout and proved he has All-Pro potential. He also had a stellar college career at Oregon and was my number one cornerback in the 2023 NFL Draft.

9. Chad Ryland will have a much better season

I still feel like the Patriots made a big reach by taking kicker Chad Ryland in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, as I didn't even have a draftable grade on him. However, expect him to have a stronger second season. Last year, he connected on just 64 percent of his kicks, the worst percentage in the NFL. Improving on that should be manageable, but if he doesn't, he might be searching for a new team by midseason.

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10. New England will take a running back in the first three rounds of the 2025 NFL Draft

While the Patriots will likely have much more of a focus on the running game, it remains to be seen if they have a starter quality runner in the backfield. The team’s current lead back is Rhamondre Stevenson who rushed for just 619 yards last the season. Due to this lack of a true lead back look for the Patriots to use either a second or third-round pick on a running back. One back who could be a good fit in their zone-blocking scheme is Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson.