Well another season is about to start, and after last season’s oh so close shot at another title I can’t wait to get this season underway! Let’s start with breaking this team down in the usual way Offense, Defense, and finally special team/intangibles.
1. Offensive line: This might well be the reason Patriots won’t have a successful season this year. Protecting the quarterback, doesn’t matter who you are Breeze, Rogers, or Manning, if your back is on the ground it’s going to be tough to win games!
2. The Deep Threat: besides Tom Brady Brandon Lloyd just may be the most important person in the offense. The last 2 season’s the patriots have relied far too one-dimensional relying far too much on their tight ends and the short passing game, and defenses are catching on to it. I always have said the one thing the Patriots lacked was a weapon that stretches out the field. All last season defenses’s never respected the deep threat so they would clog the middle of the field. This must change if the Pats want to be successful in 12’.
3. Running Game: I believe this is probably in the top 3 for reasons why the patriots have not been able to achieve that 4th super bowl. The one thing they had in their 3 victories that they have not had since is a solid running game. Now of course the offensive line plays a critical role in that which is probably why it’s struggled since their last title.
1. The front Seven: not to bring up a painful memory but the Giants are proof that all you need to have is a stout front line and the rest falls into place.
2. 3rd down Defense: Getting off the field, well I have made this a key for the Patriots in 19 of my last 20 blogs covering the last 4 seasons! I think it speaks for itself (oops make that 20 of 21).
3. Tackle, tackle, and tackle: sounds simple, but apparently it must be quite a chore judging by last season’s results. It’s a proven fact that a good tackling defense will shave off 7 ½ points per game.
4. Youth Movement: this is the wild card here, not sure what to expect with all the young players being inserted into some very critical positions. It is here where the season on the defensive side will be won or lost.
Special Team:1. Down field coverage on punts and kickoffs (again there is that tackling thing again)!
2. Giving the Offense the best starting field position possible.
1. Recovering from last year’s super bowl!
Finally, couple points I need to express here, first I didn’t make injuries a key on either side of the ball, since it is quite obvious that this is football and injuries happen and if they do, it can derail a season anyway, and I don’t have to tell that to New England fans after all look at the injuries the Redsox have had (enough said) and secondly, although this team appears to have an easier schedule that most it’s difficult to say that with any certainty since no one knows who is going to be a surprise and who is going to be a disappointment. I’m hearing a lot of non-sense talk of the patriots maybe going 16-0 again, the fact of the matter is that it’s quite possible the Patriots could have 3 or 4 losses before week 8!!!! @Titans is no easy task, 2 weeks later they have road games at Baltimore and Buffalo hardly a piece of cake then come home to a team that they don’t play well against in Denver, so please let’s keep that undefeated talk under our hats!!
The Patriots clearly have weaknesses as all teams do in the early going so here are some overview things I will be looking at this year:
1. Will the O-line come together before Brady gets killed?
2. Will the Patriots have that deep threat they have been missing since 07?
3. Will there be a consistent running game?
4. Will the Offense be less predictable?
5. Will the defense put consistent pressure on the quarterback?
6. Will the defense play better 3rd down defense to get off the field?
7. Will the youth movement be productive?
8. Improved talking on both Defense and Special teams…
Over all I see the Patriots at around 11-5, and maybe an outside chance at 12-4!