Thursday, July 21, 2005

AFC East New England Patriots

Finished 2004 season 14-2, 1st place in the AFC East, AFC Champions and Super Bowl XXXIX Champions

Key returning starters:
Tom Brady – QB
Corey Dillon – RB
David Givens – WR
Mike Vrabel – LB
Rodney Harrison - S

The Patriots are being considered the dynasty of the NFL of the 21st century this far, 3 Super Bowl wins in the past 4 seasons and they just continue to look unbeatable. However, this season they will look to continue to be the team to beat in the AFC without their Offensive and Defensive Coordinators from the previous Super Bowl victories, as well as their defense without captain and team leader Tedy Bruschi who will miss the entire 2005 season due to a mild-stroke suffered 10 days after the conclusion of Super Bowl XXXIX?

2004 Stats:
Ranked 7th overall in offense, #4 ranked in AFC
Ranked 9th overall in defense, #7 ranked in AFC

Your thoughts on the New England Patriots this upcoming 2005 season...strengths/weaknesses and your prediction on where they will finish in the division.


Blogger Steve said...

In the previous season the Patriots won the Super Bowl, I felt they faced some pretty uncertain adversity heading into the season and of course I picked them to not get as far as they did. Same thing again this season, the loss of Bruschi will hurt that defense a little - I think their remaining starters will see his absense and step it up a level. However - the biggest adversity the Patriots face this year is life without Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis.

Therefore my prediction is as follows - The Patriots will finish 2nd in the division, 10-6, and lose in the first round of the playoffs on the road. It's hard to go against Bill Belichick, but the loss of both of your coordinators is HUGE.

Tom Brady will continue to have a solid season, probably 3000+ yards, 25 or so TDs - Dillion will rush for 1200+ yards and have 10+ TDs, but I think their defense doesn't win the games that they have in previous years. Lets face it - when that team needed a huge turnover or stop on a 4th down (IE. Indy in Week #1) they came through...this year, I don't think their defense wins that battle.

Plus, the Patriots have a brutal schedule, not only will they be facing a revamped Dolphins team, but the Jets as well as Buffalo, teams with solid defenses...then to also face teams from the NFC South with potent offenses (Saints and Falcons), AFC West - really explosive offenses (all teams in division), Broncos defense, then also have to travel to Pittsburgh.

With that schedule, I just don't see them really succeeding.

In fact, I am going out on a limb here and calling the upset in week #1, Raiders go to Foxboro and beat the Patriots on Thursday Night Football to kick off the 2005 season!

7:52 AM  
Anonymous nn said...

Obviously, the Patriots are still the team to beat. They've never been jam-packed with superstar talent, they just know how to win. I don't see this season being any different.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I think they know how to win because of complex game plans, offensively and defensively, you don't think that'll change with Crennel and Weis out the door?

11:08 AM  
Blogger quest4facts said...

I agree with Steve's analysis. I also predict the Patriots to go 10-6 and make it to only the 1st round of the playoffs. There is a lot of turmoil in New England. Ty Lay is still courting other teams, both offensive and defensive cooridnators are gone and the hidden dillema in the equation is Bill Belichick is now divorced from his wife of 30 years. I think it will bring out a more insecure and irrational coach. We'll wait and see.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous JohnnySox said...

Thw Pats will be better than they were last year.They are adding Ben Watson, Brady will be even better and Dillon in a huge weapon. With their great running game and an improved recceiving corp, they will be a powerful offense. On "D"
the secondary has been upgraded and will be stronger than the playoff roster in 2004. Vince Wilfork will dominate this season. As far as the schedule, it is tough, but the Jets have basically an identical schedule, so Pats will be division champs at 12-4.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Wow johnny, bold statements saying the Pats will be better than they were last year. If the Patriots were a 11-5 team I could see your argument, but having a 14-2 team and Super Bowl can you really get any better?

I agree with the upgrades as you mentioned, but here's what you didn't mention - the game plan that each player studied and executed. Will that same type of game stragedy still be implemented? That's really the question - nobody knows yet, but the loss of Crennel and Weis I think is really going to hurt that team. Sure they have the same schedule as the JETS, but when you lose that type of game planning ability, going up against the teams they are going to face is really going to present a challenge.

I think it'll come down to week #16 or week #17 to determine the winner of the AFC East, and it will be between the Jets and Patriots. Too many changes have been made to both sides of the ball for the same chemistry to be aligned.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

By the way, good fantasy players to come from this team - the starting WR could be good #2 or #3 receivers on your team, Dillion should be considered a top 2 round draft choice as well as Brady. Their defense should be one of the top 5 defenses to be selected overall.

7:54 AM  
Blogger RED said...

The Patriots – What can I say this is the team that has set all new standards in the NFL. They got every NFL team out there trying to go with the 3-4 defense and every team trying to get there hands on team players instead of individuals like the Eagles and Raiders did in acquiring Terrell Owens & Randy Moss. The Patriots are for sure the team to beat and they will also spark the most interest because they will have to do it with out there usual offense and defensive coordinators and also there stud linebacker and team leader Teddy Bruschi. I don’t think that will play any sort of factor in slowing down the Patriots success since they still have Tom Brady and Corey Dillon on offense and a stacked defense not to mention Bill Belichick at the helm.

The Patriots have a tough schedule to play yet no other team has what the Patriots have and that is the defending championship and a chance to be the, yes THE greatest football team ever as far as dynasties are concerned. The Patriots have everything in there hands as they did in all the other championship seasons and that is they are the underdogs again. Underdogs you might question? Yes Underdogs, they lost both there coordinators and starting linebacker and it looks like standout corner back Ty Law won’t be along for the ride either. This is what makes the Pats tough, I doubt many analyses are going to agree but I’m picking the Patriots to win it again and go 13-3. Hey what can I say you can’t pick against these guys anymore. I learned my lesson last year.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Yeah Red - I can see your argument. It seems like every year I pick against the Patriots and they seem to come up with a way to surprise me.

This year may be no different, I'm again picking against them and they will probably find a way to make me eat my own foot - but I just think the losses suffered are far too great for a team like this to succeed against that type of a schedule...only time will tell.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Lance said...

Scroo your dynasty enjoy the death of it here and now..... we are here now!! Blue&Orange time!!

3:17 PM  

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