The Patriots had a pretty chaotic offseason this year, which isn’t usually how the organization operates. The arrest of Aaron Hernandez, the signing of Tim Tebow, and the fall out with Wes Welker all made the front pages of sports sections around the country.
The Patriots brought in some new players this offseason, including safety Adrian Wilson, wide receiver Danny Amendola, and quarterback Tim Tebow.
The Patriots and wide receiver Wes Welker went their separate ways this offseason. Welker had more than 110 receptions in 4 of his 5 seasons in New England. Tight end Aaron Hernandez was released this offseason as well after his arrest, and Brandon Lloyd and Danny Woodhead were not resigned.
The Patriots always have Super Bowl aspirations, and this year is no different. Here is New England’s 2013-2014 season preview.
The Patriots had one of the NFL’s best offenses in 2012, finishing the season ranked 4th in passing yards per game and 7th in rushing yards per game.
Even though New England will play Week 1 without their top 5 receivers from 2012, don’t expect a major drop off from this offense.
Tom Brady has proven in the past that he can turn any group of receivers into a
productive one. Danny Amendola was brought in to replace Welker, and has looked very good so far this preseason. Amendola and Brady appear to have a natural connection. Other receivers have stepped up as well, including undrafted rookie receiver Kenbrell Tompkins and tight end Zach Sudfeld. Star tight end Rob Gronkowski is still recovering from offseason surgeries, and will welcomed back with open arms when healthy.
New England runs a certain offensive system, and whoever Bill Belichick puts out there will be successful as long as Brady is throwing them the ball.
The Patriots offensive isn’t just a passing attack anymore, as their running game is also very good too. The running back tandem of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vareen is arguably the most talented young RB duo in the league. LeGarrette Blunt and Leon Washington were brought in this offseason to be specialty backs, and both should excel in their new roles. This is one of the most balanced running attacks in the league.
New England’s offensive line might be the best in the NFL. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer are two of the best tackles in the NFL, and they do a great job keeping Tom Brady’s jersey clean. The middle of the Patriots line is solid too.
The Patriots defense finished the 2012 season ranked 9th in the league against the run, but 29th against the pass.
New England’s defensive line was the main reason the team was so successful against the run last year. Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork is a beast against the run, and newly
acquired DT Tommy Kelly is no slouch either. New England returns their leading sack artist from last year in Rob Ninkovich (8 sacks), and defensive end Chandler Jones had a great start to the 2012 season, but fell off later in the year. He’ll need to be more consistent in 2013.
Middle linebacker Jerod Mayo recorded 147 tackles in 2012, and he returns to lead this Patriots defense again in 2013. Brandon Spikes was the teams second leading tackler last season, and he returns as well. Dont’a Hightower had a decent rookie season last year, but will need to play better in 2013 if this defense is going to take a step forward.
The secondary is the weakest part of New England’s defense. Alfonzo Denard starts at the right cornerback spot for New England, and he’s decent at best. Aqib Talib starts at the left corner spot, and played very well for the Patriots last season after being traded to the team midseason from Tampa Bay. He’ll need to continue his solid play in 2013. Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory are slotted in to start at the two safety spots, with Adrian Wilson as their backup. McCourty had a very good 2012 season, leading the team in interceptions and finishing 3rd in tackles. Gregory isn’t as good as McCourty, but is a serviceable player that should benefit from having Wilson pushing him for the starting spot.
2013 Prediction: 10-6
No Welker, no Hernandez, no problem for the Patriots. Even with an entire new receiving core, Brady should put up huge numbers again and New England should have one of the best offenses in the NFL. The defense should be a bit of a concern, but it should be good enough to keep them in most games. The Patriots are still the class of the AFC East.
Wins: @Buffalo, New York (Jets), Tampa Bay, @New York (Jets), Miami, Pittsburg, @Houston, Cleveland, Buffalo
Losses: @Atlanta, @Cincinnati, New Orleans, @Carolina, Denver, @Miami
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- New England Patriots: Five Things To Watch Versus The Detroit Lions (musketfire.com)
- New England Patriots WR Danny Amendola not expected to play against Detroit Lions; Tom Brady returns to his alma mater (masslive.com)
- Patriots-Lions Live: Josh Boyce, Patriots’ Rookie Wideouts Become Players to Watch Due to Danny Amendola’s Injury (nesn.com)
- New England Patriots: Team Will Have One of League’s Better Offenses (bleacherreport.com)
- Patriots-Lions Live Blog: Pats Ready For ‘Dress Rehearsal’ (boston.cbslocal.com)