The New England Patriots were defeated by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2018 Super Bowl, with their defensive deficiencies on display giving up 41 points at US Bank Stadium. Bill Belichick made a controversial decision to leave cornerback Malcolm Butler on the bench for the contest. His replacements struggled to fill the void. Tom Brady kept the Patriots in the game, but could not produce a trademark game-winning drive as he was strip-sacked by Brandon Graham. The Eagles closed out the victory, preventing New England from securing back-to-back titles.
New England remains one of the strongest contenders for Super Bowl LIII. With Brady and Belichick at the helm, they remain the class of the AFC, having reached the Conference Championship game seven years in a row. They are a favorite to win the Conference and return to the Super Bowl, despite the age of their quarterback and defensive issues.
They will face challenges from the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, with the two men still in place and the bonus of Josh McDaniels’ stunning u-turn to remain with the club, it’s no surprise to see them installed as a favorite for the Super Bowl in the 2018 season. As a result, it’s worth trailing bookmakers offers for the best price due to the strength of the Patriots’ claim. Paddy Power currently have the Patriots at an appealing 5/1 to claim next year’s championship, whereas the Philadelphia Eagles are an outsider’s bet at 10/1, and the Jacksonville Jaguars can be found best priced at 25/1 with William Hill.
New England have been a fixture in the final four for the past seven seasons and that shows no sign of ending. Simple statistics tell you they have at least a 25% chance of winning the Super Bowl each term. It results in the club being perennially placed as the leading contender for the Vince Lombardi crown, with odds as low as 4/1.
Although Brady secured the MVP award for the 2017 regular season, the Patriots lost their succession plan when Jimmy Garoppolo was traded away to the San Francisco 49ers. As a result, New England may be looking for a potential heir to the greatest quarterback of all time in the 2018 NFL Draft. Belichick’s men acquired a pick in the low 40s for Garoppolo – with the 26-year-old’s success affecting their position in the 2018 Draft.
New England may have to move up to select a top-tier signal-caller, although their defensive issues in the Super Bowl will also require them to address the other side of the ball. Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold have been identified as two potential prospects in the selection process. The Patriots are unlikely and probably do not have the capital to move up to pick either of the players.
Therefore, the club will have to turn their attention further down the list. Baker Mayfield impressed during his college career with the Oklahoma Sooners, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2017. However, he does not appear to have the mold New England are searching for from the position. Belichick occasionally breaks from his system, but at the most important spot on the field – he will likely stick with his philosophy.
Washington State’s Luke Falk appears to have the build the Patriots are searching for at 6ft, 4in and drawing comparisons to Kirk Cousins. He suffered an injury last season, but still managed to produce good statistics. His strengths are in the short-range passing game, which fits New England’s offense, using slot receivers to great effect. The Patriots selected Drew Bledsoe out of Washington State in 1993 and he had success before being ousted by Brady.
Mason Rudolph out of Oklahoma State also put up impressive statistics in his three years as a starter. He has the build and style of play to suit the Patriots system. The quarterback was accurate with the ball, with the only concern being his arm stretch. However, there will be time to sit behind Brady and work on his craft before being thrust into the limelight. New England has a tough decision ahead.