The New England Patriots are set to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season. With Mac Jones under center and some new guys on the roster, the Patriots are looking to bounce back from a rather disappointing 2022 season. This article will make four bold predictions for the game and discuss the Patriots' performance in the 2022 NFL season.

New England Patriots' Performance in 2022

The Patriots finished the 2022 NFL season with a record of 8-9, missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year. Despite the disappointing season, there were some bright spots for the Patriots. Erstwhile sophomore running back Rhamondre Stevenson showed promise, rushing for over 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. The defense was also solid, finishing in the top 10 in total defense. However, the team struggled with consistency, especially on offense. They hope to improve in the upcoming season, especially JuJu Smith-Schuster, Calvin Anderson, and Mike Gesicki

Get ready for some exciting predictions as the Patriots gear up to face the Eagles in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL Season. We're going to break down what we expect from key players in this matchup.

4. JuJu Smith-Schuster Has Strong Debut

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Let's talk about JuJu Smith-Schuster, the new wide receiver for the Patriots. He's about to make his first appearance with the team, and there's a lot of buzz around him. Last year with the Kansas City Chiefs, Smith-Schuster had one of his best seasons. He put up over 930 yards over 16 games. That's proof he is a dynamic playmaker. The Eagles' defense, meanwhile, was really good last year. Smith-Schuster will be challenged here, but if he can get open and make some big plays, it could be a rough day for the Eagles' defense.

Smith-Schuster recently joined the Patriots after playing for two different teams in the last two seasons. Moving from a superstar like Patrick Mahomes to Mac Jones might seem like a step down, but there's still potential for Smith-Schuster to shine. He might take over the role previously held by Jakobi Meyers, who averaged about seven targets per game over the past two years. Although Smith-Schuster hasn't reached the 1,000-yard mark since 2018, he was a solid WR24 last year before a concussion sidelined him. He also saw eight or more targets in six of his first seven games with the Chiefs. He should have over 80 yards in this game.

3. Rhamondre Stevenson Shines

Now, let's focus on Rhamondre Stevenson, the outstanding running back for the Patriots. He had an impressive sophomore season, and he'll be looking to build on that against the Eagles. The Eagles' defense struggled a bit against the run last year, ranking middle-of-the-pack in the league in rushing yards allowed. Stevenson, who averaged 5.0 yards per carry last season, has the potential to have a big day if the Patriots establish a strong running game early on.

That said, Stevenson's path to reaching his full potential might be a bit rocky due to the Patriots signing Ezekiel Elliott last month. Despite this, Stevenson should still be the main RB in New England's backfield. Stevenson should have at least 90 rushing yards and one TD in a really terrific performance.

2. Mac Jones Holds His Own

Now, let's talk about QB Mac Jones. After a solid rookie season in 2021, he kinda underwhelmed in 2022. He put up under 3,000 passing yards, and his passer rating dipped from 92.5 to 84.8. Jones will also face a formidable Eagles defense that ranked at the very top in total defense last season. To succeed, Jones will need to rely on his accuracy and decision-making to lead the Patriots to victory.

In reality, it's a bit tricky to have too much confidence in Jones after a less-than-stellar 2022 season. There's some good news, though – Bill O'Brien has taken over as offensive coordinator. This could help Jones in his third season. However, the downside is that the Patriots didn't add many elite weapons during the offseason aside from Smith-Schuster. Also, Jones might struggle in a run-first offense. Still, in all, we think Jones will have a solid start to 2023 and hold his own. He should put up around 220 passing yards with one touchdown and a high 80s passer rating.

1. No Upsets Here

Now, let's step back and look at the bigger picture. We know the Patriots are usually well-coached defensively. However, do they have the talent to keep up with a team like the Eagles? Playing in New England used to be a sure win for the Patriots, but they've had a rough time at home since 2021.

Despite the challenges, we expect the Patriots to make this tough for Philly in Week 1. The Patriots' defense is expected to be a tough nut to crack for the Eagles' offense, Jalen Hurts notwithstanding. In addition, the Patriots' running game should control the clock, keeping the Eagles' defense on the field longer. JuJu Smith-Schuster is likely to make some impressive plays, and Rhamondre Stevenson could have a breakout performance.

Still, the Eagles will outlast the Patriots. We see no upsets here as the Patriots fall by one touchdown.