On Sunday, the development we had all been expecting finally came to fruition -- Cam Newton is headed to the New England Patriots. The former No. 1 overall pick has been looking for a new home ever since he was released by the Carolina Panthers earlier this offseason, and the Patriots appeared to be the favorite to land him ever since Tom Brady decided to take his talents to Tampa Bay. Bill Belichick will probably still give second-year signal-caller Jarrett Stidham a chance to battle for the starting job, but you have to imagine the former NFL MVP has a leg up on the competition. Newton appears to make the Patriots better heading into 2020, but how much better?
CBS Sports data scientist Stephen Oh crunched the numbers on Sunday night, and his data shows that the Patriots' expected win total increases by 1.5 games with Newton instead of Stidham in the starting lineup (with Newton it's at 9.3 games). The Pats also have a 26.8 percent better chance to win the AFC East (55 percent), a 29.3 percent better chance to make the playoffs (72.7 percent), a 5.7 percent better chance to win the AFC (7.9 percent) and a 2.9 percent better chance to win the Super Bowl (3.8 percent).
In regards to our simulation-based power ranking, the Patriots actually had the fifth-best record in the NFL behind Newton with a projected win total of 9.4. The Patriots' power ranking improved from 18th to 5th with Newton under center, but the Patriots do have a tough schedule. Their projected win percentage is 54.5 percent, which is less than the 58.4 percent of power ranking simulations they win on a neutral field vs. the rest of the league. Their odds to win the Super bowl improved from 25-1 to 18-1 and their odds to win the AFC went from 10-1 to 7.5-1.
Interestingly enough, the improved odds for New England didn't impact the Baltimore Ravens' odds to win it all, which are at 13.3 percent. The Ravens, according to Oh, are the best value based on the simulations with a league-leading 23.4 percent chance to win it all.
The Patriots' signing of Newton doesn't just make them better, it also increases their ceiling as a legitimate contender. It will be a tough task with the Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs both being projected to win double-digit games, but it does appear Newton can get New England to the postseason, which gives the Patriots at least a chance at another Lombardi trophy.