Mike Reiss 10 predictions

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    Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    Ten predictions for the 2010 season

    Expect a big season from rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes

    ReissBy Mike Reiss
    ESPNBoston.com
    Archive

    Ten predictions for the '10 New England Patriots season to file away and revisit come early January:

     

     

    1. The Patriots will win 10 games. Although the roster has undergone significant turnover and there are question marks on the defensive side of the ball, an explosive offense triggered by quarterbackTom Brady still makes the Patriots a tough matchup and a club that should be playing into January in the playoffs. The win total would have been higher if not for a run of injuries to key players -- offensive lineman Nick Kaczur, defensive end Ty Warren, cornerback Leigh Bodden and safety Brandon McGowan -- as well as Logan Mankins' contract standoff. That's a tough preseason in terms of losing key players.

    2. Wes Welker will not lead the team in receptions for the first time since 2007. In part because he is still working his way back to form from a torn ACL, but also because the Patriots look primed to spread the ball around more, Welker will not top the team's receiving charts. He should still be in the 70-catch range, however, and still will be a dangerous threat working in the slot.

    3. Brandon Spikes will be in the discussion for defensive rookie of the year. The second-round draft choice, whose instincts have been praised by coach Bill Belichick, is projected to start at inside linebacker next to Jerod Mayo. His 18 tackles in the preseason ranked third on the team and his presence was also felt as a blitzer up the middle. While there are sure to be some early growing pains with Spikes, it looks like the Patriots have found themselves a sturdy young talent in the middle for years to come.

     

    [+] EnlargeSpikes
    Stew Milne/US PresswireBrandon Spikes was the No. 62 overall pick in the 2010 draft.

     

    4. Logan Mankins will play for the Patriots this season. It might not happen until the 10th week but the veteran guard will ultimately report to gain credit for an accrued season. His absence has already hurt the team as replacement Nick Kaczur, transitioning from tackle to guard, is battling a significant back injury. While there are surely hard feelings on both sides, business is business, and Mankins' decision would be based on what's best for his future.

    5. Rookie tight end Rob Gronkowski will have double-digit touchdown catches. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound target was exactly what the Patriots needed in the red zone, where they were inconsistent last season. His four touchdown catches in the preseason tied for the NFL high and his consistent presence on the field -- with no indication that his prior back injury is an issue -- has helped accelerate his development.

    6. Stopping the run, not the pass rush, will be the team's primary issue. For all the angst over the team's ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks, significant changes within the front seven of the defense will make stopping the run the bigger issue for the club, especially in the first two weeks of the season against the Bengals and Jets. The Patriots are banking on three unknowns: 1. Can veteranGerard Warren transition to the two-gap style of play at left end; 2. Can Mike Wright hold up long-term at right end; 3. Can a player who hasn't started an NFL game -- Marques MurrellRob Ninkovich or Jermaine Cunningham -- emerge at left outside linebacker?

    7. Defensive lineman Mike Wright will win the 12th player award. While perhaps miscast as a full-time starter at right defensive end, Wright is arguably the team's best interior pass rusher, so he figures to stay on the field on third down by moving inside and working against centers and guards. With the Patriots facing questions about their pass rush, Wright's potential impact will be crucial for the team. Wright was disruptive during the preseason, putting him in position to earn the annual honor given to the player who has exceeded expectations.

    8. Stephen Gostkowski will have some early struggles adjusting to a new operation.With punter Zoltan Mesko the team's new holder on field goals, kicker Stephen Gostkowski will work to find a new comfort level. He only got four chances in game conditions during the preseason, with a 46-yarder hitting the upright and going through, another attempt missed but nullified by a Falcons penalty, and then successful tries of 35 and 28 yards.

    9. Tom Brady will throw for more than 30 touchdowns. The Patriots' offense has the potential to be one of the NFL's most explosive units and Brady looked especially comfortable in the preseason while integrating new weapons into the mix such as tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, as well as receiver Brandon Tate. As long as the protection holds up, and it was solid in the preseason, there could be some big-time offensive fireworks.

    10. Fred Taylor will be the team's leading rusher. Projected to be the first running back with the ball in his hands on opening day, the 34-year-old Taylor looks like the leader of the team's committee-type approach. While the club plans to use all backs, and injuries could potentially alter the picture, Taylor is positioned as the runner to earn the most carries per game.

     

    Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from carawaydj. Show carawaydj's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    I want to think more than 10 wins, but it's hard to dispute the key injuries we've already had.  I'm most disappointed by Bodden.  We need 3 starting quality DB's and we only have two now.  We better hope Wilhite or Wheatley has progressed.

    We'll be in the mix this year, but our next run begins next year.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    I agree with everything. Especially the bit about the defense struggling more in the running phase ... and consequently, they will perform better against pass first teams like Indy, et al, than they will against dominant play action teams like Baltimore and Miami. 

    10 wins. But this team will be improved in every facet this season. They will keep the same record, because this is the toughest schedule I've seen them face since the 2004 season when they had to play every playoff team but one at least once and half of them twice or thrice. 
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from mountainmonkey. Show mountainmonkey's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    If the Pats' "Romper Room" defense can cut some teeth, then maybe, they get thru this schedule and into the playoffs...if anything, it will be interesting....
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions:
    [QUOTE]I agree with everything. Especially the bit about the defense struggling more in the running phase ... and consequently, they will perform better against pass first teams like Indy, et al, than they will against dominant play action teams like Baltimore and Miami.  10 wins. But this team will be improved in every facet this season. They will keep the same record, because this is the toughest schedule I've seen them face since the 2004 season when they had to play every playoff team but one at least once and half of them twice or thrice. 
    Posted by zbellino[/QUOTE]

    The schedule really will be a factor this year. While I believe we are good enough to beat any of the teams we play, I just think the set up is killer. Weeks 6-7-8 will be a true test. Ravens,Bolts,Vikes. At least we have the bye week to prepare for Baltimore. Even Cleveland away is no longer a gimme with Holmgrens positive influence on  the organization.(How about Jake Delhomme come back player of the year??)

    Anyway I agree with pretty much everything as well except the run stopping. I really think Spikes will be a legit run stuffing machine and will compliment the line nicely. PA will be a problem especially if Mayo continues to struggle with it like he did in the preseason. But over all I am nervous about heavy pass teams like Indy. Butler and McCourty will have a tough learning curve and losing mCgowan actually hurts the secondary just from an experience stand point. I think the one thing the secondary is missing is a captain. A guy like Rodney to keep everyone in line. Tell guys when they screw up and pat them on the butt when they don't. I am not sure Merriweather is that kind of player. No, overall the ability to contain the pass concerns me more then the ability to stop the run.

    Z, what do you think of this Jared Page guy? He actually put up good #s as KC's starter 2 years ago and he is a big dude. I think we could use a guy like that in  the secondary.


     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rodimus77. Show Rodimus77's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    I like how the loss of Nick Kaczualty is somehow a terrible loss for this team. Is this the same Nick Kaczur that can't pass or run block? Is this the same Nick Kaczur that got eaten alive by Robert Mathis? And now Brandon McGowan is a terrible loss. Was he or was he not benched at some point in time last year for poor play? Ty Warren is the only major loss I see! 

    I understand Reiss is a journalist but how about we just wait for the season to actually start! I never was a huge fan of predictions from these so called expert sports writers prior to the season actually starting.

    I wonder what these so called experts predicted that the final standings of the 2001 Pats would be?
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from croc. Show croc's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    LOL I love the term Romper Room Defense. 


    I tend to agree Re Gronkowski. If he's an option in your Fantasy League scoup him up.  The pass rush is still the issue.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from oklahomapatriot. Show oklahomapatriot's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    I don't agree with 10 wins. I think more like 12 or 13
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Muzwell. Show Muzwell's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions : The schedule really will be a factor this year. While I believe we are good enough to beat any of the teams we play, I just think the set up is killer. Weeks 6-7-8 will be a true test. ...Posted by TrueChamp[/QUOTE]

    They actually had a tougher schedule last year, statistically speaking.  Last year they faced the third toughest schedule, this year sixth in terms of W-L records.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Getzo. Show Getzo's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    Seems like we are always in the top 5 for hardest schedule
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatFanInBA2. Show PatFanInBA2's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    Rodimus: What about Bodden - you don't think losing him is a big blow to our defense?
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from digger0862. Show digger0862's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    [QUOTE]Seems like we are always in the top 5 for hardest schedule
    Posted by Getzo[/QUOTE]
    That's mainly because we always finish first.

    I think the key to winning more than 10 games this year is winning the majority of our division games. The Jets and Dolphins always seem to squeek out a win against us and the Bills games are usually tough wins. The only year we ever swept the division was 2007.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Rodimus77. Show Rodimus77's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions:
    [QUOTE]Rodimus: What about Bodden - you don't think losing him is a big blow to our defense?
    Posted by PatFanInBA2[/QUOTE]


    Its a hit, but is it a severe blow as everyone is trying to put it?
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from krismk. Show krismk's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    If the Jest can get back Revis, get Mankins back here...do it..eff the CBA.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from garytx. Show garytx's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions : They actually had a tougher schedule last year, statistically speaking.  Last year they faced the third toughest schedule, this year sixth in terms of W-L records.
    Posted by Muzwell[/QUOTE]

    Some flaws to this.  Using last years records to compare both years schedule is technically wrong.  You'll have to wait to see how tough this season is (or was).  Right now all we have is projections which ain't much. 
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from HRK103. Show HRK103's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    1.) 10 wins I predict 9
    2.) disagree WW leads team in catches
    3.) hope so all the rookies need to play well
    4.) probably right  this guy can walk don't like attitude
    5.) I'll take the under...8 tds
    6.) agree huge test for this defense
    7.) good choice I always like KF for this
    8.) he'll be fine
    9.) 36
    10.) nope Maroney in the end will lead the team in yards due to injuries to everyone else
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsRfineIn09. Show PatsRfineIn09's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions:
    [QUOTE]1.) 10 wins I predict 9 2.) disagree WW leads team in catches 3.) hope so all the rookies need to play well 4.) probably right  this guy can walk don't like attitude 5.) I'll take the under...8 tds 6.) agree hugh test for this defense 7.) good choice I always like KF for this 8.) he'll be fine 9.) 36 10.) nope Maroney in the end will the team in yards due to injuries to everyone else
    Posted by HRK103[/QUOTE]

    1. 12 wins
    2. Welker will lead team again
    3. i hope so
    4. i hope he does not destroy locker room unity
    5. agree, Gronk is a beast.
    6. i kind of agree, am worried about stopping the run
    7. disagree, pryor will win it
    8. get off the drugs reiss
    9. absolutely - 40 td's
    10. Maroney will lead team
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from wozzy. Show wozzy's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    1.) 10 wins I predict at least 12 
    2.) disagree WW leads team in catches
    3.) Spikes is already a monster
    4.) Mankins is just unlucky regarding league uncertainty, he has a legit beef but will play again to become a free agent.
    5.) Gronk won't get ten but he and Hernandez will have at least 15 between them.
    6.) The run stoppage won't be an issue as long as Wilfork, Warren and Brace stay healthy.
    7.) Wright will lead defensive linemen in sacks as a third down specialist
    8.) Ski is a robot and has no weakness
    9.) Absolutely more than 30 if we establish the run and play action like the beginning of 07
    10.) Maroney in the end will lead the team in yards because he always does and is the most talented, he won't get a 1000 yards again because he never gets enough carries but if we get to the playoffs he will be the horse.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from mthurl. Show mthurl's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    I disagree with one thing. I can't see any other receiver having more catches than Welker even if he's not a 100%. Moss is already complaining about his contract. Tate is essentially a rookie and Price is a rookie. I don't think Edelman plays anywhere close to 16 games and I don't see any one tight end catching all the passes for the position. Kevin Faulk is too old to catch more than 70 balls and he never has anyway. I'm not sure how many passes he'll catch, but I think he'll lead the team and come on strong towards the end of the season as his knee feels a little better.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Macrawn. Show Macrawn's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions:
    [QUOTE]I agree with everything. Especially the bit about the defense struggling more in the running phase ... and consequently, they will perform better against pass first teams like Indy, et al, than they will against dominant play action teams like Baltimore and Miami.  10 wins. But this team will be improved in every facet this season. They will keep the same record, because this is the toughest schedule I've seen them face since the 2004 season when they had to play every playoff team but one at least once and half of them twice or thrice. 
    Posted by zbellino[/QUOTE]

    Stopping the run is what stands out for me also. The secondary has absolutely no chance with a d line that can't stop the run option. That's where it has to start. Without stopping the run they are going to get eaten alive on 3rd and 5 situations. I think we win more than 10 games but maybe only a couple more. It's hard to tell really because the defense is really an unknown quantity. The offense though is top notch and is going to be just as problematic to opposing teams. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions : Its a hit, but is it a severe blow as everyone is trying to put it?
    Posted by Rodimus77[/QUOTE]

    Yep, when a team is as thin at corner as the Pats, losing your best, most experienced corner for the season is a big blow.  Not only do you miss his play, you also miss his leadership when it comes to mentoring the rookies and other young players.  

    I agree with you that Kaczur isn't the greatest tackle in the world, but again the Pats are so thin at that position (and good tackles are so hard to find) that losing him hurts.  As mediocre as Kaczur is, LeVoir is even worse from what I've seen.  And Kaczur may have made a good guard--most projected him to be a guard when he came into the league.  His physique is more guard-like than tackle-like.  We need depth at guard too, so Kaczur definitely had a role to play this year. In fact, that's why BB left him on the roster despite an injury that may keep him out all season.



     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from NOISE. Show NOISE's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    Z, what do you think of this Jared Page guy? He actually put up good #s as KC's starter 2 years ago and he is a big dude. I think we could use a guy like that in  the secondary

    @ TrueChamp, what I like about J. Page, he is very good in the Red Zone too...so let's a keep an eye on this.  This is where he really contributes and steps up his game when things are tight in the redzone.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from jcour382. Show jcour382's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    i love that the pats have gone TOTALLY younger on D... i think the dline will be a strength... lots of rookies playing which is unusual for bill... i do think we have a tough schedule(6th overall) but I think we will be able to score at will... bengals should be a good early test... let the games begin...
     
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  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from chrisakawoody. Show chrisakawoody's posts

    Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions

    In Response to Re: Mike Reiss 10 predictions:
    [QUOTE]1.) 10 wins I predict 9 2.) disagree WW leads team in catches 3.) hope so all the rookies need to play well 4.) probably right  this guy can walk don't like attitude 5.) I'll take the under...8 tds 6.) agree huge test for this defense 7.) good choice I always like KF for this 8.) he'll be fine 9.) 36 10.) nope Maroney in the end will lead the team in yards due to injuries to everyone else
    Posted by HRK103[/QUOTE]

    I agree on the nine wins. Want more, but considering the problems they have going into this season, and realizing they will surely lose more players along the way, I just can't see them winning 12 or 13, as Kansas believes.  I hope he is right, though.

    The key on the O will be seeing how these new unknowns on the line will rise to the occasion. If the Pats can't run block when they need to run, it will make the O pass, which means Brady will be getting hit all season.  That is scary.  The run-blocking looked weak in the preseason.

    The keys on the D will be to see if they can pressure the QBs with this new line and LB corps, so they can help these DBs.  The DBs were reasonable in the first two quarters of most games last year, but were thoroughly gassed by the 40-minute marks as they were spending way too much time covering guys on pass plays throughout the games.  That's why the D would always collapse in the 2nd halves.

    And I am still concerned that a too-pass-heavy offensive attack will lead to quick scoring drives, which do not give the D enough time to rest last year.
     

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