Will Gronk Walk Away? ... And Patriots' Other Offseason Questions

Sunday, February 3, 2019 12:53 AM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 12:53 AM UTC

Well before Super Bowl LIII, the New England Patriots were already +700 co-favorites on the NFL odds board for next year's big game. Do they have what it takes?

<p style="text-align:right;"><em><strong>Jason’s 2018-19 NFL picks record: 11-14 ATS, 0-2 ML (minus-2.90 units), 7-9 Totals</strong></em></p><div>It’s time to place your bets, folks. Who will win the Super Bowl: the New England Patriots, or the Los Angeles Rams? We’re talking about Super Bowl LIV, of course – the Pats and Rams have already been listed as +700 co-favorites on the <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nfl-football/" title="Live NFL Odds">NFL odds board</a> at <a href="http://www.sportsbookreview.com/best-sportsbooks/" title="SBR's Best Sportsbooks">Bovada</a>. Can the Patriots make it four consecutive Super Bowl appearances? Here are our Top 5 questions for New England to address this offseason.</div><div> </div><p> </p><div> </div><h2>1. Is Gronk Coming Back?</h2><p>This may be the No. 1 question on everyone’s mind, as well as on this list, and apparently we won’t have an answer anytime soon; TE Rob Gronkowski says he’ll take some time off after the Super Bowl before he makes his decision. There’s not much left in the tank, to be honest. Gronkowski (47 catches, three TDs) isn’t what he used to be, and the Patriots might be looking at replacing him at the 2019 NFL Draft with someone such as Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. Either way, your <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nfl/" title="Free NFL Picks">NFL picks</a> probably won’t be affected much.</p><p> </p><h2>2. What About Brady?</h2><p>Even if QB Tom Brady is drinking deer-antler juice every morning, he’s going to hit the wall at some point – maybe even in 2019, just like Peyton Manning did in 2015. Now that Jimmy Garoppolo is in San Francisco, the line of succession has been broken, but the Pats just might fire another second-rounder at a quarterback, someone such as Duke’s Daniel Jones or Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson.</p><p> </p><h2>3. Who Will Replenish the Defensive Line?</h2><p>This was a weak spot for the Patriots heading into Super Bowl LIII, and it’s an area they’ll have to address if either or both of Malcom Brown and Danny Shelton leave in free agency. Another Alabama product has been touted as a potential first-round pick for New England: Raekwon Davis, who immediately gets our vote here at the home office.</p><div>[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/V7OO2jjZbwU", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]</div><div> </div><div> </div><h2>4. Got Any Safeties?</h2><div>Always an important question to ask. In this case, New England is going to need some help, and soon: Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty are both entering their age 32 seasons. This spot could be filled by a hybrid defender such as Iowa’s Amani Hooker; Pats coach Bill Belichick loves guys who can play multiple positions. Or maybe they’ll wait for the third round and pick up Miami safety Jaquan Johnson.</div><div> </div><p> </p><div> </div><h2>5. Do We Even Need Defensive Co-Ordinator?</h2><div>The Patriots didn’t hire anyone to replace Matt Patricia when he took the head coaching gig in Detroit. Linebackers coach Brian Flores started the year handling the play-calling duties in Foxboro, but word has it the Miami Dolphins will name Flores their new head coach on Monday. Greg Schiano could be brought in as a co-ordinator after leaving the same job at Ohio State, or maybe Belichick will pull another Flores and let defensive line coach Brendan Daly call the plays next year. It’s good work if you can get it.</div>
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