Finally. I’ll say it again…FINALLY. In an offseason riddled with turmoil and the loss of nearly every offensive weapon from the 2012 roster, the New England Patriots now look poised to reclaim their upper echelon stature from one year ago. Shane Vereen returns to the field in week 11 and with that, the Pats now have an offensive unit that can do just about anything.
Vereen joins a rejuvenated Stevan Ridley, who after a rather lackluster first five weeks, has returned to the form he boasted last season. Dude has been in beast mode. Vereen will look to reclaim the versatile role he showcased in week one, as he can line up as tailback, catch passes out of the backfield, or look to stretch the field. As 2011 draft alumni, this two-headed monster is ready to break off the chain.
Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Dobson are each coming off of 100+ receiving yard games with at least one touchdown, and they all appear healthy enough to pose weekly threats in the passing game. Sprinkle in some Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins, and Brady has a cornucopia of talent outside the huddle. What a difference a few weeks can make!
Here is a look at the Patriots’ upcoming schedule, along with a look at how each opponent is ranked in terms of fewest points allowed:
Mon, Nov 18 @ Panthers (2nd)
Sun, Nov 24 vs. Broncos (22nd)
Sun, Dec 1 @ Texans (26th)
Sun, Dec 8 vs. Browns (11th)
Sun, Dec 15 @ Dolphins (14th)
Sun, Dec 22 @ Ravens (8th)
Sun, Dec 29 vs. Bills (29th)
Despite devastating personnel losses on both sides of the ball, the Patriots are 7-2 and look forward to a tough Monday night showdown against a surging Carolina Panthers team. As a unit holding opponents to the second-fewest points in the NFL, Carolina will clearly be the stingiest remaining defensive test. However, Tom Brady and company will look to carry into this game some of the same firepower they used to torch the Steelers two weeks ago. Sit back and enjoy the fireworks.