2013 Record: 12-4
Entering their 43rd season, the New England Patriots hope to start the 2013 NFL season strongly and put the disappointing home loss in last year’s AFC Championship Game. While quarterback Tom Brady (4,827 yards, 34 touchdowns) is still as good as ever, he can’t do it by himself. And there have been a few notable changes this offseason, as Wes Welker, who led the team in receiving each of the last five years, signed with the Broncos in free agency. The Patriots hope to replace him with Danny Amendola, signed out of St. Louis, who is a very similar, speedy slot receiver. Amendola can also return punts among other things. They finally had a consistent running game last year for the first time since the Corey Dillon days behind 1,200-yard rusher Stevan Ridley. While tight end Rob Gronkowski remains a beast, his fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez was released upon being arrested for his role in the murder scandal. With Welker and Hernandez gone, it’s going to take more than an injured Gronkowski and quietly effective Brandon Lloyd (who is still a free agent) to maintain the high-flying pass attack, but with a balanced running game behind Ridley, Danny Woodhead, and Shane Vereen, the Pats will put up plenty of points as usual.
On defense, the Pats resigned key corners Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington, while signing five-time Pro Bowl safety Adrian Wilson. That fixes a major weakness for the Pats in recent years, as they were 29th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. New England has also done a nice job getting younger defensively although they have paid for it in team performance. But Jerod Mayo, 27, Brandon Spikes, 26, Chandler Jones, 23, and Patrick Chung, 26, are the core of the defense now, and the rebuilt secondary should make it a passable unit. So maybe not as many points as usual on offense, but more points prevented on defense ensures more success for a Patriots team that has made the playoffs 10 of 12 years under Brady. Don’t forget to get your tickets to another season of New England Patriot football from Gold Coast Tickets and watch the game live!