Jun 12, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gestures to a receiver during minicamp at the practice fields of Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots: (Very) Early Game By Game Predictions

While it may be a little early to predict how the Patriots will fare in each game of the 2013 season, I think it is never too early to have a little fun with it and generate some discussion and disagreement. Here are my game predictions for the Patriots 2013 season.

The Patriots will go 16-0…..just kidding

Week 1: at Buffalo 

Rarely does a Tom Brady and Bill Belichick led team lose on opening day. Even more rare is seeing them take a defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills. I don’t think that the Pats will have any trouble with Buffalo. The Bills haven’t improved a great deal this offseason, and I think this is the perfect opportunity for the New England defense to show off their improvement that we are all expecting.

Pats win 27-13

Week 2: vs. New York Jets

I think that this game will be a lot closer than most people think it will be. When two rivals square off, you never know what will transpire and that is what happens a good amount of the time, when it comes to the Patriots and the Jets. Obviously the Patriots have a lot more talent on their roster, and I think that is what is going to give them the slight edge in this game. Tim Tebow gets the start….

Pats win 24-17

Week 3: vs. Tampa Bay

This one has shootout written all over it. The Pats offense doesn’t have the talent it had in 2011 and 2012, but it still has a lot of firepower. The Bucs offense is also a high flying bunch, and even though both of these two teams defense’s have improved in the offseason, I think this game will produce plenty of touchdowns. When it is all said and done, this game is being held in Foxboro, and Tom Brady rarely loses a contest against an NFC opponent at home.

Pats win 31-24

Week 4: at Atlanta

This is where I see the Patriots suffering their first defeat of the season. This Pats team is very young, and going into the Georgia Dome to face Matt Ryan and his explosive offense could be disastrous. I think Atlanta’s big play potential will lead to a good amount of long touchdowns, and I just don’t see this Pats offense being able to outscore them. Brady will keep his group in the game, but I think the Falcons offense is too powerful for them to overcome.

Pats lose 28-20

Week 5: at Cincinnati

Every year there are a couple ‘surprise’ games, and I think week five in Cincinnati will be one of those games. The Bengals have quietly built a very solid team, and they have the template to take down the Pats. The Bengals can run the ball very effectively with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and then hit you with the combination of A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. They also have the capability to play some exceptional defense, and I think they will do this to New England, and beat them handily.

Pats lose 27-14

Week 6: vs. New Orleans

This game may be the most exciting game of the year. You get two of the best quarterbacks in the league going up against two sub-par defensive units. That adds up to some major excitement. Once again Drew Brees will lead an explosive passing attack, and I think Brady’s group of weapons will rise to the occasion against an opponent like this. In this type of game I think it will come down to who will be able to get their running game going, and the Pats have the edge in that category. I also think the Patriots defense will be much improved, and they will come up with some key stops against Brees’ attack paving the way for a Pats victory.

Pats win 38-27

Week 7: at New York Jets

Butt-fumble 2? Unlikely, but not out of the question. I think that Geno Smith will actually be starting this game for the Jets. They will be coming off back to back games versus the Falcons and the Steelers, and I think that those two teams may be enough to drive Sanchez out of the starting spot. With Smith under center, Bill Belichick will have a field day in terms of disrupting the rookie in the pocket, and confusing him with different looks in the defensive backfield.  Belichick is one of the best in the business in going against first time rookie quarterbacks, and the Pats defense will shine in this game. However I will still be rooting for a butt-fumble whenever the Jets offense comes out onto the field.

Pats win 28-14

Week 8: vs. Miami

There has been a lot of talk this offseason about the Dolphins, and there has been a good amount of football experts saying that they could possibly knock the Pats off, as the kings of the AFC East. I like what Miami has done, but I don’t think that they are there yet. But they do have a very good football team, and they will give New England a run for their money in both of their matchups in 2013. I give the nod to the Pats in the first one because of the quarterback situation on each side. I am a big fan of Ryan Tannehill, but he still has yet to prove that he can “play with the big boys”. On the other side you have one of the best of all time in Tom Brady, and that is why the Pats will edge out Miami in this first matchup.

Pats win 21-20

Week 9: vs. Pittsburgh

For some reason, the Pittsburgh Steelers have never given Tom Brady the problems that they have given every other quarterback in the NFL. Brady feasts upon their zone schemes, and I think it will be no different this year. Brady’s weapons may be different, but I think the result will be the same (aside from that awful game in 2011). The Steelers do have problems of their own, as Big Ben’s group is not what it used to be, and Dick LeBeau’s defense is getting older, and will get exposed much more in 2013.

Pats win 28-17

 

Week 10: BYE

 

Week 11: at Carolina

A mismatch. That is all you can say about this contest. I think Cam Newton’s young team will get absolutely annihilated on Monday Night Football. The Patriots are always great coming off of a bye week, and the Panthers’ defense is still below average. Newton leads a talented offensive group, but he still lacks a solid receiving core outside of Steve Smith. I think that this will be Tom Brady’s 400 yard, 5 touchdown game of 2013.

Pats win 34-14

Week 12: vs. Denver

This is the big one. Peyton vs. Brady, Welker returns, AFC’s top dogs collide. There will be lots of hype for this Sunday Night clash, and I have no doubt that these two teams will live up to it. When Brady and Manning play each other, it generally turns into an offensive shootout, but I think this year will be different. I think that this year it will be a defensive struggle throughout the game, before Manning and Brady take over late and light up the scoreboard. The Broncos win on a Manning drive in the final minute to win it.

Pats lose 27-26

Week 13: at Houston

Homecoming returns. This time, they get beat even worse. I don’t know what the Texans are thinking with their “homecoming” ideas, but I know that the Patriots destroyed them last year, and will do it again in 2013. The Texans are a very talented unit, but I think the Pats just have their number. Houston has a very good defensive group, but when you are able to run the football against them, it opens up a lot on the back end. The Pats have the roster to do this, and I expect them to do it a lot.The Texans also have to live with Matt Schaub as their quarterback, and he still has yet to show the world that he can produce in the big moments. This is a big moment, therefore Schaub will struggle, and Brady will shine.

Pats win 31-7

Week 14: vs. Cleveland

The Browns will beat the Patriots….when Tom Brady retires. Until then, I think Cleveland will not be able to top New England. The Browns have some good, young players, and Trent Richardson is at the top of the list. He is a good back that has a very bright future in this league, but the Patriots will still be too much for this Cleveland team.

Pats win 40-20

Week 15: at Miami

I said before that Miami would get edged out by the Pats when they played in New England, but I think the Dolphins even the score when they meet in South Beach. It will be a dogfight, and the Dolphins will probably be fighting for their playoff lives at this point in the season, and that propels teams to play better than expected. Ryan Tannehill will improve as the season progress  and he will be at his finest in this key divisional matchup.

Pats lose 24-16

Week 16: at Baltimore

I hate to say it, because I really want some revenge against the Ravens, but I think that Baltimore will take down the Pats in this late season contest. Baltimore is a “scrappy” bunch, and they rise to the occasion when they play a team like the Patriots. I think that Flacco will once again give Pats defensive backs nightmares, and the Ravens defensive unit will scrap together some creative game-plan to disrupt Brady’s rhythm. While I think Baltimore will be playing with a much lower winning percentage at this point in the season than New England, I feel that they will rise up and knock down the Pats in what I feel will be a great game.

Pats lose 26-20

Week 17: vs. Buffalo

I have a feeling that this game will have a lot of playoff seeding implications riding on it, specifically for New England. Tom Brady and company thrive in these situations and it definitely helps being at home playing the Bills. I think the Pats go for 500 yards of offense in this one, and run the Bills out of the stadium, riding into the playoffs on a very good note.

Pats win 34-17

Final Record: 11-5 

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