There are two guys keeping the New England Patriots collective heads above water and that is Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. I think neither would be able to succeed with this roster without the other doing their thing to will this team to greatness year after year. When one of them leaves, the wheels will come off this sports car so fast it will almost be comical.
5. New England Patriots (2013 Record: 12-4)
Last season, the Patriots won every game at home, including one against the Denver Broncos. On the road, however, they struggled going 4-4 and eventually losing their road rematch against those Denver Broncos. In the AFC, it will once again come down to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning for the AFC Title as none of the other elite AFC teams have shown they can handle the spotlight in the playoffs.
Key Losses: Aqib Talib, LeGarrette Blount, Dane Fletcher, Brandon Spikes
Key Acquisitions: Darrelle Revis, Brandon LaFell, Will Smith, Patrick Chung, Brandon Browner
Patriots fans think their new defense will give Peyton Manning fits in 2014, which may be true in their regular season matchup, but I would argue that perhaps the Broncos new defense will give Brady just as many fits of his own. I see mostly average talent (outside of Revis) in the free agent acquisitions by this team, instead of the elite talent the Broncos acquired in free agency. Either way, this team represents the biggest obstacle to the Broncos return to the Super Bowl - other than themselves, of course.
It helps that the Patriots schedule is almost laughable. The Broncos had better win their road matchup with them or the road to the Super Bowl will run through Foxborough. The one saving grace is that four of the six playoff teams the Patriots face in 2014 will be road games, so there is a chance the Patriots could drop about four games again next season. Still, that Week 9 matchup with the Broncos is going to be the biggest regular season game of the year for both teams.
Projected Record: 12-4
Kyle: I dread facing these guys in the playoffs in Foxboro. The Broncos have made it a point of emphasis (and succeeded) to get the #1 seed in the AFC for the past two years, and you know this team is the reason.
Mike: Tom Brady is the most overrated QB in NFL history...period. But as long as he continues to play within his means in the Belichick system, the Patriots always have a shot at contending.
Jon: Mike is a homer, Brady is a Hall of Famer, I am hungry.
Topher: Do the Patriots still have Tom Brady, Bill Belicheck and the best coordinators in the NFL? Yes, well that means they are a playoff team, while they have issues all over the place they are more talented than they were in 2013. As long as that coaching staff is in place and Tom Brady is their QB, they will win a lot of games.
Laurie: What Topher said.
Ian: What Laurie said. Which is what Topher said.
Pete: Tom Brady is one of the most overrated QBs in the history of football. Without that particular system and coaching staff, he’s a lifetime bench warming player. Stick him on almost any other team throughout his career, and he’s a laughing stock (personal opinion). Ugh, I hate that this team just won’t go away. I hate them almost as much as the Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders and Ravens. Ok, maybe more than the Ravens, but it’s close! How will this team do in 2014? I honestly don’t know. I think my hate and vitriol gets in the way of me being able to give an unbiased opinion. Here’s to a 7-9 season! Why 7-9 and not 2-14 you ask? It’s because I don’t want them to have a good draft pick!