Raise it.

My friend and former colleague, Rachel Lenzi, used to say that, or tweet it, every time her beloved Pittsburgh Pirates won a game. It’s a Pittsburgh thing, you know. And the Jolly Roger flag would be raised.

Why do I mention that?

Because I have some advice for my friends/readers who are fans of the New England Patriots.

Raise it.

And by “it,” I don’t mean the new Super Bowl banner they’re unveiling Thursday night at Gillette Stadium preceding their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.


By “raise it,” I mean the sixth Super Bowl banner they’re going to win this year.

There, I said it.

The Patriots will win the Super Bowl next February in Minnesota. Who will they beat? No idea. And frankly it doesn’t matter.

The defending Super Bowl champs are clearly the best team in the NFL, even with the season-ending knee injury suffered by Julian Edelman. Bigger, stronger, faster than last year.

I’m sure there will be bumps along the way, injuries to overcome, losses that will bewilder you, and some of you will blame me for making this way-too-early-in-the-season prediction.

But that’s what I get paid the medium bucks for, to make bold predictions when I’m asked to make bold predictions.


So, without further babbling, here’s how the 2017 regular season is going to play out for the Patriots.

They will enter the playoffs with a record of 14-2.

Sept. 7 vs. Kansas City

Patriots 38, Chiefs 23: Instead of booing Roger Goodell whenever he appears in person or on the big video screen, Patriots fans give him the silent treatment. Just kidding. The boos are going to be loud, long and louder. Tom Brady throws touchdown passes to five different receivers. Chiefs defensive backs have no idea who to cover.

Sept. 17 at New Orleans

Patriots 45, Saints 39: This game worries a lot of people because the Saints always score a ton at home. That’s OK, the Patriots can score tons, too. Home or away. Brandin Cooks has the game of his life against his former team. Gronk does his thing and spikes the ball so hard it hits the ceiling of the Superdome.


Sept. 24 vs. Houston

Texans 27, Patriots 24: Yeah, I know. “What? How? Why? You’re crazy!” Patriots always have a stinker at home along the way. This is it. The Texans are just too familiar with the Patriots and their defense is one of the few in the NFL that can slow New England down. Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel comes out of retirement for one game, catches winning touchdown pass in final minute.

Oct. 1 vs. Carolina

Patriots 41, Panthers 21: I pity the team that plays the Patriots following a bad loss. The defense exhausts Cam Newton with its relentlessness. The secondary scores two pick-six TDs. Brady throws over the top of the Panthers’ defense to Cooks, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett.

Oct. 5 at Tampa Bay

Patriots 40, Buccaneers 18: It’s Hard Knocks all over for the Buccaneers. Literally. The Patriots’ offense continues to purr, this week with the running backs taking center stage. Running, catching, blocking, they show a national Thursday night audience that they shouldn’t be overlooked.


Oct. 15 at New York Jets

Patriots 42, Jets 13: Remember when this was a rivalry. Maybe THE rivalry. Jets fans are going to look back fondly on the Butt Fumble.

Oct. 22 vs. Atlanta

Patriots 34, Falcons 28: How many 3-28 T-shirts/hats/banners/posters do you think are going to be in the Gillette Stadium stands for this Sunday nighter? This should be a great game. Danny Amendola is going to make a miracle catch somewhere along the way in the fourth quarter and then salute his injured buddy, Julian Edelman, as the play is confirmed.

Oct. 29 vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Patriots 33, Chargers 24: I still can’t believe the Chargers moved from San Diego. Good thing I’ll be on a cruise ship this week, otherwise I’d refer to them as the San Diego Chargers and get angry text messages from my boss. Patriots continue to roll, although the L.A. offense pushes them hard.


Nov. 5 Bye Week

Time to put the grill away and get ready for cold weather with a nice beef stew.

Nov. 12 at Denver

Patriots 37, Broncos 21: I know, I know, I know. The Patriots never win in Denver. Well, this year they do. I mean, Tom Brady vs. Trevor Siemian? I mean, that’s a lopsided rivalry if I’ve ever seen one. Where’s Brock Osweiler when you need him? Oh yeah.

Nov. 19 vs. Oakland (Mexico City)

Raiders 37, Patriots 35: A preview of the AFC championship game? Maybe. Oakland, someday to be Las Vegas (I can’t believe that either), has the one team in the AFC that can match the Patriots offensively. Marshawn Lynch scores the winning touchdown on a 2-yard run in the final seconds and says afterward, “See, that’s how it’s done down on the goal line.”


Nov. 26 vs. Miami

Patriots 37, Dolphins 18: Pity the Dolphins. They lose their bye week because of Hurricane Irma back in Week 1. Now they get the Patriots coming off a tough loss. Jay Cutler is sacked 10 times and starts his press conference by saying, “I gave up a TV booth job for this?”

Dec. 3 at Buffalo

Patriots 37, Bills 21: Snowstorm in Buffalo. It’s so bad you can’t see 10 yards downfield. Brady rushes for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Bills have no idea where he is because Patriots are wearing all-white uniforms. The NFL investigates.

Dec. 11 at Miami

Patriots 23, Dolphins 17 (OT): First overtime prediction ever in the history of this preseason column! How’s that for being bold? Brady to Cooks for the Monday night winner. Patriots clinch another AFC East title with the win.


Dec. 17 at Pittsburgh

Patriots 34, Steelers 30: A preview of the AFC championship game? Maybe. (Where have I read that before?) Steelers are so very dangerous in every phase offensively. But New England’s defense steps up with a big play in the final minute to seal it.

Dec. 24 vs. Buffalo

Patriots 40, Bills 17: After every score, the Patriots toss presents into the stands. A lot of people go home happy this day.

Dec. 31 vs. New York Jets

Patriots 28, Jets 12: The Patriots’ New Year’s resolution is to be kinder and gentler. So Bill Belichick pulls Brady after a 28-0 first quarter and doesn’t allow Jimmy G. to throw any passes. The game ends in 2 hours, 10 minutes, fastest game in NFL history.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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