5 games that will decide the New England Patriots’ 2022 season
The Patriots made it back to the postseason after missing the playoffs in their first year without Tom Brady on the roster since 1999. Then, Bill Belichick pretty much stood still.
New England held its ground as the rest of the AFC improved around it. The Miami Dolphins added Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, and Chase Edmonds. The Patriots brought in DeVante Parker, who the Dolphins no longer wanted. The Buffalo Bills signed Von Miller; Belichick traded for Mack Wilson. The New York Jets had arguably the best draft class of 2022. New England took an FCS interior lineman in the first round and a projected fourth round pick in the second.
This leaves a challenging path to traverse in Mac Jones’ second season as the team’s starting quarterback. The Patriots have mostly stayed the same — or, following the departures of players like JC Jackson and Shaq Mason, potentially gotten worse — while the rest of the conference around them made demonstrable strides to get better. Now they aren’t just working to conquer the Bills, but also have to fend off the Dolphins and the Jets just to stay in the postseason race.
Those aren’t the only teams with whom they’ll have to compete. Here are the most important games Jones is staring down in year two of his NFL journey. Win these, and the Patriots might just be THE [expletive] PATRIOTS again.