The franchise's best-ever quarterback and tight end now play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he'll likely have a second-year player with limited experience taking over the offense and throwing to pretty much the same receiving corps as last season and there have been significant free-agent losses on defense.
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Still, oddsmakers have Bill Belichick overcoming all that to be the NFL's coach of the year.
While there have been some dire predictions for the Patriots in the first season of the post-Tom Brady Era, Belichick is a 7-1 favorite by Caesars Sportsbook in Las Vegas to win the NFL's top coaching award for the 2020 season.
DraftKings Sportsbook also has the 68-year-old Patriots coach as their favorite. Their odds: Belichick, +1000; new Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, +1400; Arizona Cardinals' Kliff Kingsbury, Indianapolis Colts' Frank Reich and Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel, +2000.
Belichick is entering his 21st season as Patriots head coach, but his first without the QB considered the greatest of all time. All indications are that second-year QB Jarrett Stidham will take over for Brady. Under Belichick, the Patriots went 11-5 with Matt Cassel replacing an injured Brady in 2008 and 3-1 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett replacing Brady during the QB's suspension in 2016.
"If [Belichick] takes that roster and wins that division, and no other team goes 16-0, how do you give it to somebody else?" Caesars Sportsbook director of trading Jeff Davis told ESPN. "The only way he doesn't get it is if one of the teams that was terrible last year makes the playoffs."
Belichick won the award in 2003, 2007 and 2010.