Aug 22, 2013 Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

AFC East Rankings-New England Patriots

Aug 22, 2013 Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots-Predicted Record-9-7

Even with perhaps one of the best Quarterbacks in the game, Tom Brady, this Patriot offense is in dire need of offensive weapons.

After the arrest of TE Aaron Hernandez, herniated disk of TE Rob Gronkoski, releases of WR Brandon Lloyd and Deion Branch, and trades of Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead, the Patriots were basically starting from square one on the passing side of their offense.

With every single shred of receiving talent either traded or released from the Patriots organization, Mr. Craft and company have turned to free agency this off-season to sure up the wide receiver and tight end positions.

Their major free agent signing was former Rams WR Danny Amendola. Last season for the Rams, Amendola caught 63 passes for 666 yards and 3 touchdowns before a season-ending shoulder injury that was found out to be life-threatening.
Besides Amendola, the Pats signed former Bronco and Ram TE Brandon Fells to assure their TE position.

However other than Amendola and Fells, the Patriots have no respectable targets to replace their once dominant receiving corps.

Even though Amendola could perhaps replace Brandon Lloyd in the Patriots offense, nobody could replace Wes Welker; Brady’s most targeted receiver, nor Gronkowski or Hernandez; Brady’s goal line receivers, nor Danny Woodhead; the Darren Sproles of New England, who was one of the best dual-threat running backs in the NFL today.

Fortunately, this season the Pats have one of the most potent running attacks in the game, unfortunately, on the receiving side of the ball, the Patriots are in pretty bad shape.

Quite frankly all their offense, much like the early American flags of the Continental Army, is in tatters.

Their entire season rests on the shoulders and arms of Tom Brady and legs of RB Stevan Ridley.

Last season was a career season for Brady, throwing for 4,844 yards, 34 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions.  90% of Brady’s passing yards last season went to receivers that are now either injured, on different teams or rotting for the rest of their lives in jail.

The possibilities for this offense are either; A. looking for a good trade B. use this year as a rebuilding year C. Sign free-agent still left on the market or heaven forbid D. Sign Chad Johnson.

Its either one of those choices or watch as the Jets soar to #1 in the AFC East, and nobody wants to see that.

From the Patriots’ and Bill Belichek’s standpoint, this season is still very salvageable.

27th overall pick out of Marshall Aaron Dobson looks very promising and Shane Vereen could perhaps replace Woodhead as the 3rd down/pass catching back out of the backfield, but other than that, I don’t see much hope for this offense.

If Brady can turn these sub-par receivers into studs and maybe help Timmy Tebow to get back on track, Brady could possibly be the best QB in the NFL, right now.

‘Making something out of nothing’, sounds like a good theme for this 2013 Patriots season.

Out in New England, the Pats have been known for one thing over the past 5 years and his name is Tom Brady. One thing the Pats haven’t been known for; their defense, especially their secondary.

The Patriot defense has averaged a rank of 20 over the past 5 years, in part because of their run defense, but mainly due to their horrendous pass defense.

In 2010, the Pats let up an average of 258.5 passing yards per game (ranked 30th in the league), in 2011 293.9 passing yards per game (ranked 31st in the league), and in 2012 271.4 passing yards per game (ranked 29th in the league).

Absolutely atrocious considering the Patriots offense the past 3 seasons has attained an average rank of 3.5, including #1 last season.

We know the problem is the passing game, because last season the Patriots were actually pretty brawny against the run (ranked 9th last season letting up an average of 101.9 rushing yards per game). Just as well, its not their overall safety/cornerback play that has suffered, as evidenced by their number of turnovers (41 takeaways last season, ranked #2 in the NFL), but rather big plays that have really killed the Patriots secondary.

If the Patriots can eliminate first downs and plays over 20 yards, perhaps New England won’t have to rely on Brady and the offense to save themselves deep into games.
However, with Adrian Wilson, Devin McCourty, and corner Aqib Talib, this Patriot secondary has the potential to stun the NFL and return back to this struggling New England defense into super bowl form of the early 2000s.

Tags: AFC East New England Patriots

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