New England Patriots Predictions

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The New England Patriots won their fourth straight AFC East title and the ninth in the last 10 years with an overall record of 12-4 in 2012. They would open up the playoffs with a convincing win over Houston 41-28, but were outplayed in the AFC Championship Game in a 13-28 loss to the Ravens. While most teams would consider last year to be a success, anything short of Super Bowl with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is considered a disappointment.

The Patriots featured the league’s best offense last year. New England led the league in both total offense (427.9 ypg) and scoring (34.8). New England is well known for their ability to put up big numbers in the passing game with Brady calling the shots, but they were more than capable of beating teams on the ground in 2012. Their 136.5 rushing yards/game ranked 7th overall. While the defense gets a lot of criticism for finishing 25th in total defense (373.2 ypg), it doesn’t matter how many yards you give up if you hold opponents to 20.7 ppg (9th) and lead the league with a +25 turnover ratio.

Last Season
AFC East
Record
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Over/Under
1st
12-4
9-7
4-4
5-3
11-5
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
1st
25th
+25
34.8
20.7
2013 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
DE/OLB Jamie Collins, WR Aaron Dobson, CB Logan Ryan, S Duron Harmon, WR Josh Boyce.
Additions
QB Tim Tebow, RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Danny Amendola, WR Donald Jones, WR Michael Jenkins, OT Will Svitek, G Tyronne Green, DT Tommy Kelly, DT Armond Armstead, S Adrian Wilson, KR Leon Washington.
Losses
RB Danny Woodhead, RB Jeff Demps, WR Wes Welker, WR Brandon Lloyd, TE Aaron Hernandez, G Donald Thomas, G Brian Waters, DE Trevor Scott, S Patrick Chung.
Key Numbers for 2013
Draft Grade
Preseason Power Ranking
Strength of Schedule
C+
5th
1.73
14th
Head Coach Bill Belichick
*Records for regular season only.
Overall
ATS
Home
Home ATS
Road
Road ATS
187-101
161-120-7
102-42
78-63-3
85-59
83-57-4
Off of a Bye
Off of a Bye ATS
Off of a Loss
Off of a Loss ATS
11-8
8-11
57-37
56-37-1
Schedule
2013 New England Patriots Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
9/8 @ Bills
-7
0.75
9/12 Jets
-8
0.79
9/22 Bucs
-7.5
0.78
9/29 @ Falcons
PK
0.50
10/6 @ Bengals
-1.5
0.53
10/13 Saints
-4
0.66
10/20 @ Jets
-4
0.66
10/27 Dolphins
-7
0.75
11/3 Steelers
-4
0.66
Week 10 BYE
11/18 @ Panthers
-3
0.59
11/24 Broncos
-1.5
0.53
12/1 @ Texans
PK
0.50
12/8 Browns
-8.5
0.80
12/15 @ Dolphins
-2
0.53
12/22 @ Ravens
PK
0.50
12/29 Bills
-10
0.84
Estimated Wins: 10.37

The Patriots schedule ranks right in the middle of the pack in terms how teams finished in 2012, but it’s not as easy as some might think.

New England has several difficult non-division games as they go up against the AFC North, NFC South and division winners Houston and Denver.

Several of those key games come on the road, including a back-to-back set early in the season at Atlanta and Cincinnati.

Playing away from Foxborough will be a theme for New England late in the year, as they must play four of six on the road following their Week 10 bye. All four come against legit playoff contenders in the Panthers, Texans, Dolphins and Ravens.

Since Bill Belichick took over in New England, the Patriots have compiled an incredible 82-22 record at home. While they shouldn’t have any trouble finishing 2013 with a winning record at Gillette Stadium, they do have three huge games at home outside the division against the Saints, Steelers and Broncos.

Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the AFC
to Win Super Bowl XLVIII
11
7 to 2
9 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Predictions

You can’t talk about the 2013 Patriots without first mentioning Aaron Hernandez, who was arrested for the murder of Odin Lloyd. New England immediately released Hernandez upon learning of the chargers, but that kind of off-field distraction can ruin a team. However, if there’s any team that can overcome this, it’s the dynamic duo of Belichick and Brady. It certainly helps that the Patriots play in one of the worst divisions. I fully expect New England to put together a game plan that will have them sitting on top the AFC East with another double-digit win season.

If it wasn’t for Hernandez, the offseason storyline in New England would be the loss of Pro Bowl wide out Wes Welker, who was shockingly not re-signed. If losing Hernandez and Welker wasn’t enough, the Patriots didn’t bring back wide out Brandon Lloyd and tight end Rob Gronkowski is questionable for the start of the season after back surgery in mid-Jone. Gronkowski health is a major concern not just for this season, but his career.

The Patriots are hoping that free agent pickup Danny Amendola will help fans forget about the loss of Welker. Amendola certainly has the talent to step into this offense and catch 100+ passes, but injuries are a major concern. He’s missed 22 games over his four-year career, including five last season. New England also added in a couple more free agents in Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins. They also used two of their draft picks at the position and look for the Patriots to use running back Shane Vereen in the passing game a lot more this year. Brady has proven he can win with less and I wouldn’t put it past him to put up similar numbers to 2013.

If the passing game does happen to struggle, New England will likely just turn to one of the more underrated rushing attacks in the league. Stevan Ridley stepped into the starting role last year and quietly rushed for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. They also got solid production out of backups Vereen and Brandon Bolden and have added in former Buccaneer LaGarrette Blount. While a big reason for the success on the ground is that opposing defenses have to respect the pass with Brady, but the real key is an offensive line that is strong across the board.

I mentioned earlier that the New England defense gets a lot of grief for all the yards they allow, but a lot of people overlook the fact that the 2012 Patriots defense was even better than one that played in the Super Bowl the previous year. No one is really talking about the defense going into 2013, but I think it’s poised for a breakout season.

The Patriots front seven looks to be as strong as it has been in years. They used a second round pick on Southern Miss outside linebacker Jamie Collins and most importantly will be getting back a healthy Chandler Jones, who had six sacks in the first half of the season but was never the same after an ankle injury. They have one of the elite run-stoppers in the game in nose tackle Vince Wilfork and all kinds of talent at the linebacker position with Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Robe Ninkovich and Dont’a Hightower.

The area of the defense that struggled the most in 2012 was the secondary. New England ranked 29th in the league in pass defense, but there’s reason to believe this unit will be much improved. Their addition of corner Aqib Talib during the middle of last season payed off big time as did the decision to move former corner Devin McCourty to free safety. They added in veteran Adrian Wilson to come in and start opposite of McCourty at Strong safety and also get back starting corner Alfonzo Denard. They have decent depth at corner with Kyle Arrington, Ras-I Dowling and rookie Logan Ryan. Just how much the secondary improves will come down to whether or not the Patriots figure out a way to put more pressure on the quarterback.

Projections
AFC East Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
1st
5-1
11-5
Push 11
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