The New England Patriots are coming into the 2017 season with speculation of possibly completing a perfect 19-0 season.
This would be the first time this has happened since the Miami Dolphins did it in 1972. However, there are multiple teams the Patriots play this season that could play spoiler. Here are the three most likely teams that can beat the Patriots this upcoming season.
The Raiders are a team that caught a horrific break, losing quarterback Derek Carr for the remainder of the season in week 16 with a broken fibula. The Raiders simply could not recover as they lost in the AFC Wild Card Game to the Houston Texans 27-14 without Carr’s services. However, Carr had expressed earlier this off-season that his injury could have been a lot worse.
With Carr back and fully healthy this season, this Raiders offense is tremendously intimidating for any NFL defense. They were 7th in the NFL in points per game with 26.0. They were also 6th in the NFL in yards per game with 373.3 as well as 6th in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 120.1. The addition of Marshawn Lynch this off-season also gives the Raiders a big, powerful presence in the back-field that could cause problems for the Patriot’s defensive line.
The Patriots seemed to handle the Steelers pretty well last season in the AFC Championship Game. The momentum change in that game was Le’Veon Bell leaving the game in the 1st quarter with a groin injury. The injury appeared to be more severe than people might have thought as Bell went to get surgery for a muscle in his core that supposedly nagged him even before the AFC Championship.
Ben Roethlisberger is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Along with Roethlisberger and Bell, Antonio Brown continues his tenure as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Pittsburgh will be at home again and it should be harder this time around for the Patriots to beat the Steelers.
Everyone knows this is the game the Falcons will be looking forward to the most in the 2017 season. The Falcons do have a lot going in their favor. They were 1st in the NFL last year in points per game with 33.8 as well as 2nd in the NFL in total yards per game with 415.8. The offensive weapons are endless with MVP quarterback Matt Ryan along with Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones and Taylor Gabriel.
The Falcons also have a young, underrated defense with players such as Robert Alford, who had an interception return for a touchdown in the first half of Super Bowl 51 against the Patriots. Dwight Freeney’s signature spin move gave the Patriots trouble in the 1st half of that Super Bowl, and he’ll keep bringing the pressure when they meet in week 7. With a high octane offense and improving defense, this could be an even better Falcon team this time around.
The Patriots know what it takes to win. There are always those few teams that give the Patriots trouble during the regular season. These three teams could be the ones who hand the Patriots some of their losses this season, if they are to be handed any losses.