The Football Outsiders Almanac 2009, which looks at the game through a statistical lens, is now available.
I asked Doug Farrar, who researched and wrote the Patriots section of the Almanac, to share five factors that fans should remember when thinking about this year’s team.
This is the fifth and final item:
How good can the Pats be with the return of their elite quarterback and an upgraded secondary? Our projections place them near the top of the league with 11.4 wins, and we base this as much on our estimation that they’ll face the easiest schedule of any team this season. The DVOA [Defense-Adjusted Value over Average] drop in the second half of that allegedly perfect season was pretty scary – you can see the complete numbers in the New England chapter — and it was the second half of a supposedly lost year in 2008 when the Patriots exceeded expectations with a skeleton crew at many positions, that may point most accurately to their future.