How many games will the Patriots win in the regular season?

Debate the answer with Chad Finn and Boston sports fans at The Sports Q.

Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the Patriots-Panthers preseason game.
Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the Patriots-Panthers preseason game. –AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek

Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through TwitterFacebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each day (except for Saturday) to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.

I’m sure you’ll make your Super Bowl pick another time here or in a column or something. But let’s answer this one now, if you could. How many games will the Patriots win this season? Feels like a falloff is coming with no [Julian] Edelman for the first four weeks and a tough start to the schedule. I’m going 11, but it won’t be easy. You? – Will B.

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First, lets’ acknowledge something truly remarkable, yet something that gets lost amid all of the other remarkable achievements of the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. The Patriots have won at least 10 games for 15 straight seasons, starting in 2003. That includes 2008, when Matt Cassel was the quarterback for 15 ¾ games, and 2009, when the quitting gene was dominant in the defense.

Ten wins may not seem like a lot now – heck, they’ve won at least 12 games in each of the last eight years – but that would qualify as a great season for a lot of franchises.

Once upon a time, it would have meant a lot to the Patriots. They won 10 or more games in just nine of their 40 seasons before Belichick showed up, with a high of 11. Now 11 would feel like a minor disappointment.

I do think 11 is the number this year. They do have some things to work out early, especially with Brady trying to find some wide receivers to add to his small circle of trust, and the schedule is tough – would it be a total shock if they start 0-2 given that they’re facing the Texans at home and then the Jaguars on the road? I don’t think they start 0-2. But no, it would not be a total shock.

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They’re going to be fine, though. I’m convinced the defense will be better than it was a year ago, provided key players maintain reasonably good health. Brady looked like his usual self in the preseason. They’ll win their 10th straight AFC East title. Just with a slightly smaller win total than usual.

But what do you guys think? How many games will the Patriots win in the regular season? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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