After Tom Brady decided to leave New England this offseason, it was starting to look like the Patriots 20-year dynasty was going to be left for dead, but then a surprise happened, the team went out and signed Cam Newton. The 2015 NFL MVP shocked everyone in late June when he agreed to a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Patriots that will pay him just $550,000 in guaranteed money.
The one mystery with Newton is that no one knows if he's actually healthy. Although he passed his physical with the Patriots, that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to be able to withstand the beating that comes with playing quarterback in the NFL for an entire season.
If Newton's not healthy, there's a good chance the Patriots dynasty is going to officially end this year. On the other hand, if Newton's healthy, the Patriots could very well end up winning the AFC East for the 12th straight season.
So how are the Patriots going to do with Newton this year?
To answer that question, we did what no one else was willing to do: We locked Will Brinson in a room for 11 straight hours so that he could simulate the 2020 season three times. If you're wondering why we ran the simulation three times, it's so we could see how the Patriots would fare based on how healthy Newton might be.
After the dust was settled on the Madden simulation, there were a lot of surprising results, and since you're probably wondering what those results are, let's get to them.
Simulation 1: In this simulation, Newton's Madden rating was just 78, which is what the game has him pegged at for the 2020 season. The reason Newton's rating is so low is that he's coming off multiple injuries (shoulder and foot) and has missed 16 games over the past two seasons. With a hobbled Newton leading the way, the Patriots ended up finishing just 6-10.
Simulation 2: For this simulation, Newton's rating was bumped up to 85, and the reason we moved it to that exact number is because that's what his rating was before the 2019 season. At that point, Newton was thought to be fully recovered from his offseason shoulder surgery, but he also had yet to injure his foot. Even if you don't take the foot injury into account, Newton still wasn't good enough to get the Patriots into the postseason as the team finished 7-9.
Simulation 3: Hopefully, you've decided to read this far, because this is where things get fun. For our final simulation, we bumped Newton's Madden rating up to 88, which is where it was prior to the 2018 season before he had suffered any serious injuries.
So how did things work out for a fully healthy Newton? Glad you asked.
The former Panthers quarterback went off. In this simulation, Newton ended up throwing for more than 4,000 yards, along with 33 touchdowns while only throwing 10 interceptions. To put that in perspective, only one quarterback in the NFL cracked the 4,000-yard mark while throwing 30 or more touchdowns with less than 10 interceptions last year and that was Russell Wilson (4,110 yards, 31 touchdowns, five interceptions). Newton also took advantage of the Patriots high percentage passing game to complete 74.3% of his passes, which would be tied for the second-highest completion percentage in NFL history if it were to happen.
In the end, the healthy version of Newton did end up leading New England to the playoffs with an 11-4-1 record. Unfortunately for Patriots though, they didn't win the division, and that's because the Bills ended up winning the AFC East with a 12-4 record.
And now, this is where things get bonkers. By finishing second place in the AFC East, the Patriots ended up earning the fifth overall seed in the AFC, which sends them to Kansas City for a wild card playoff game in our simulation. Of course, for this game to happen that means the Chiefs would be the fourth-seed, which means they would have the FOURTH-BEST record among division winners.
The crazy part of all this is that Chiefs don't even end up in the Super Bowl, and that's because the AFC team ends up being the BUFFALO BILLS (I told you this third simulation was bonkers). The Bills make it in a season where Josh Allen wins MVP. And now we're all thinking the same thing: Go home Madden game, you're drunk.
Oh, and one more thing, the Cowboys end up winning it all in our third simulation with a blowout win over the Bills. Sorry Bills fans, some things never change.
You can see a video breakdown of Brinson's entire simulation below.