For the first time in 20 years, the New England Patriots are entering a season without Tom Brady. The six-time Super Bowl champion departed the franchise in free agency this offseason and has sparked a new era for Bill Belichick's club. As things stand currently, it appears like second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham will get the first crack at ushering in this new dawn in Foxborough, which officially begins for them on September 13 against the Dolphins

New England is coming off a 12-4 season in 2019 and was able to win the AFC East, but fell to the Tennessee Titans on Wild-Card Weekend, putting their hopes of a seventh Super Bowl title on ice. This year, William Hill Sports Book has the Patriots over/under win total at nine. Below, you'll see if we project New England to hit that total by going through a way-too-early, week-by-week projection for all of their regular season contests. We'll also be showing you the O/U totals for every opponent and the early lines for Week 1 and Week 2. 

Ready? Let's go. 

*All odds are provided by William Hill Sports Book

Week 1 vs. Dolphins

Line: Patriots -6.5
Opponent win total:
O/U 6

Prediction: This game is going to have a similar feel to the 2017 opener when Jimmy Garoppolo was starting in place of the then suspended Tom Brady against the Cardinals in Arizona. Garoppolo didn't light the world on fire but did play well enough to win, including a late 61-yard drive to help set up a Stephen Gostkowski go-ahead field goal. Part of the reason why Garoppolo was so sharp in this opener was thanks to Bill Belichick and company carefully constructing a game plan to play to his strengths and the young quarterback had weeks to prepare for it. I expect similar results with Jarrett Stidham, despite the tough task of not only starting in place of Brady for the first time but also facing a revamped Dolphins defense. Patriots win 20-13

Projected record: 1-0

Week 2 at Seahawks

Line: Seahawks -4
Opponent win total:
O/U 9.5

Prediction: After a week of riding high from that opening win, Stidham and the Patriots will be slapped back to reality as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seahawks. Under normal, non-COVID-19 circumstances, I'd say that Stidham will likely be frazzled by the hostile environment and struggle because of it. If there are, in fact, no fans in attendance for these games, this contest will be one of the first indicators of how much the 12th man can impact a betting line. Stidham will still have his troubles on the road, but it's not the bloodbath it could have been. Seahawks win 24-13

Projected record: 1-1

Week 3 vs. Raiders

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Prediction: A lot of the focus this offseason has been placed on New England losing Tom Brady, but they also lost some notable pieces on defense as well (Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton, etc.). This is a game where the revamped defensive unit shines and completely bombards the likes of Derek Carr and the Raiders as they come across the country to Foxborough. The offense will do enough to keep a lead, but it'll be a defense led by Stephon Gilmore that gives the Patriots the 17-13 win

Projected record: 2-1

Week 4 at Chiefs 

Opponent win total: O/U 11.5

Prediction: Arrowhead Stadium has recently been a house of horrors for the Patriots during the regular season. This game will be no different whether they'll be fans in the stands or not. The reigning Super Bowl champions will have their way with New England throughout this contest as they're simply the more talented team. Chris Jones will likely wreck things completely for the Patriots offense in the middle of that defensive line, while the firepower of Patrick Mahomes will simply be too much to handle. Chiefs win 33-16

Projected record: 2-2

Week 5 vs. Broncos 

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Prediction: The Denver Broncos surrounded second-year quarterback Drew Lock with a boatload of weapons this offseason, but he'll take his lumps on this day and realize why Stephon Gilmore is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Home cooking will do the offense a world of good and they'll once again get back above .500 heading into the bye week. Patriots win 24-17

Projected record: 3-2

Week 7 vs. 49ers 

Opponent win total: O/U 10.5

Prediction: Welcome back, Jimmy Garoppolo. This will be the quarterback's first time back to Foxborough since the Patriots traded him to San Francisco back in 2017 and I expect him to make the organization a bit envious that he wasn't the true heir apparent to Tom Brady. Garoppolo's speedy collection of receivers, including second-year pass-catcher Deebo Samuel, will give New England's defense fits along with star tight end George Kittle. There'll be a little extra motivation to win this game for head coach Kyle Shanahan too as he'd almost certainly love to take down the team he blew a 28-3 lead to in Super Bowl LI as the offensive coordinator for the Falcons. 49ers win 30-20

Projected record: 3-3

Week 8 at Bills 

Opponent win total: O/U 9

Prediction: The Patriots are in the midst of the toughest part of their schedule. After taking a beating from the 49ers last time out, they have to travel up to Buffalo for a rock fight with the Bills. Sean McDermott's defense will be a difficult one for the Patriots to overcome and I could see Stidham struggling on the road once again. Meanwhile, the new-look offense with Stefon Diggs as the clear-cut No. 1 receiver will be able to put up enough points to slay New England in their first matchup of the season and make a statement that they are on the path to claiming the AFC East for the first time since 1995. Bills win 27-10

Projected record: 3-4

Week 9 at Jets 

Opponent win total: O/U 6.5

Prediction: The New York Jets spent the bulk of its offense addressing the offensive line and it'll pay off in this contest. The problem is, however, that Sam Darnold will still struggle going up against the Patriots secondary. This unit will be able to pick off the Jets quarterback multiple times, giving short fields to Jarrett Stidham, who gets the first road win of his young career. Patriots win 23-13 

Projected record: 4-4

Week 10 vs. Ravens 

Opponent win total: O/U 11.5

Prediction: The schedule makers didn't exactly do the Patriots any favors here. After taking on the Jets on Monday Night Football, they have a short week to prepare for another primetime game against the Baltimore Ravens and reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. Jackson continues to look like his MVP self and runs all around the field to help Baltimore get the W. Offseason acquisition Calais Campbell has quite the night, sacking Stidham more than once. Ravens win 27-9 

Projected record: 4-5

Week 11 at Texans 

Opponent win total: O/U 8

Prediction: After back-to-back primetime games, New England's gassed and it shows against their old friend in Bill O'Brien and the Texans. Deshaun Watson shows off his immense talent as a passer and finds former Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks for a revenge touchdown to boot. Stidham and the offense perform well but were never realistically going toe-to-toe with Watson on this night. Texans win 24-17

Projected record: 4-6

Week 12 vs. Cardinals 

Opponent win total: O/U 7

Prediction: The Cardinals are pegged by many to take a significant step forward in 2020 with quarterback Kyler Murray entering his second season in the league and after acquiring star receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason. That said, they'll run into some trouble here with the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Hopkins and Gilmore did seem to have a bit of a rivalry brewing last season when the receiver was still a member of the Texans and I expect the Patriots corner to negate his presence in this game. Hopkins' struggles getting open will cause Murray into a turnover or two, while New England offense will do enough to get the victory and snap their two-game losing streak. Patriots win 24-20

Projected record: 5-6

Week 13 at Chargers 

Opponent win total: O/U 7.5

Prediction: The Patriots will travel to the west coast for two contests towards the tail end of the season beginning with the Chargers. This contest will be the easier of the two as the club will likely have given the keys to No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert at this point in the year. If that's the case, I expect the young quarterback to struggle against New England's secondary, which will give the Patriots the smooth 21-10 win

Projected record: 6-6

Week 14 at Rams 

Opponent win total: O/U 8.5

Prediction: The Rams get a bit of a moral victory here after losing to the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. I expect L.A. to have a bounceback year in 2020 and asking Stidham to fend off the likes of Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey is a bit too much to ask at this point in his career. Rams win 28-17

Projected record: 6-7

Week 15 at Dolphins 

Opponent win total: O/U 6

Prediction: Playing the Dolphins late in the season, especially down in Miami, never really seems to work in New England's favor. That'll remain the status quo here as Tua Tagovailoa will likely be slotted in as the Dolphins starter by this point and I expect him to play well throughout the second half of the year as long as the offensive line holds up in front of him. While it remains to be seen if anything flukey like a Miami Miracle will occur in this game, the Patriots will still head back to New England with a loss. Dolphins win 24-13. 

Projected record: 6-8

Week 16 vs. Bills 

Opponent win total: O/U 9

Prediction: The Patriots get revenge on the Bills for their earlier loss in Week 8 during this "Monday Night Football'' showdown. Josh Allen's accuracy becomes an issue in this one and the Patriots secondary eats him alive thanks to it. Offensively, this is a strong showing for Stidham, who throws for a pair of touchdowns and even gets one on the ground. Patriots win 24-10

Projected record: 7-8

Week 17 vs. Jets 

Opponent win total: O/U 6.5

Prediction: New York essentially sleepwalks into Foxborough for this game as the playoffs are completely out of reach and they already have one foot into the offseason. This is a solid game all around for the Patriots, but specifically, Stidham, who makes his last statement as the team's starting quarterback before heading into the offseason. Patriots win 23-6

Projected record: 8-8