For the final month leading up to the regular season, I will be featuring two “Over/Under” pieces per week. I’ll take a New England Patriots or AFC East topic and give you my opinion of whether we will see more (over) or less (under) than the number provided.
There’s just 2 pieces remaining in my 8-piece “Over/Under” puzzle. In article number 7 we look at the New England Patriots schedule, and predict how many wins this team will end the regular season with. The Patriots may have had a rough offseason, but they still have the best QB/Head Coach combo in the NFL. Don’t expect a big drop in production this season. The LVH SuperBook has the Patriots at 11.5 wins.
New England Patriots: Over or Under 11.5 Wins
The Patriots have been the staple of consistency in the AFC for the last decade. They have made the playoffs in every one of those seasons, minus the year Brady was down with a knee injury (when they still managed 11 wins). In the last 10 years they have averaged 12.6 wins per season, and have hit 13+ wins 5 times.
There are a plenty of analysts and bloggers out there who were saying the Pats would take a step back in 2013. It’s a reasonable assessment, considering the turnover of players on the offensive side of the ball. But Brady is still Brady, and he seems to be getting better with age. Decision-making and preparation are two of the most important things for an NFL QB, and Tom Brady is the best in the league in those categories.
Jan 14, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) talks with head coach Bill Belichick as they take on the Denver Broncos in the second half of the 2011 AFC divisional playoff game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Broncos 45-10. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
With Brandon Lloyd still wearing street clothes, and Wes Welker playing in the mile-high, there were serious questions at the receiver position. Danny Amendola and Kenbrell Thompkins have been very impressive, and I think Aaron Dobson will get better every day. If he hits his full potential, New England will have solved the deep-threat problem that has been lingering since Randy Moss left for Minnesota.
Defensively, the Patriots should be a little better than last season. If Alfonzo Dennard plays for 16 games, then the secondary will have more success than we have seen in several years. The Pats still have a strong group of linebackers, and have been working to improve the defensive line. As I’ve said before, the jury is still out on New England’s D, but I believe they will be better.
Let’s take a look at the schedule, listed here with my projections of wins and losses:
1) at Buffalo Bills (W)
2) vs New York Jets (W)
3) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (W)
4) at Atlanta Falcons (L)
5) at Cincinnati Bengals (W)
6) vs New Orleans Saints (L)
7) at New York Jets (W)
8) vs Miami Dolphins (W)
9) vs Pittsburgh Steelers (W)
11) at Carolina Panthers (W)
12) vs Denver Broncos (W)
13) at Houston Texans (L)
14) vs Cleveland Browns (W)
15) at Miami Dolphins (W)
16) at Baltimore Ravens (L)
17) vs Buffalo Bills (W)
I have the Pats sweeping the AFC East 6-0, which is not unreasonable considering New England has only lost 2 divisional games in the last 3 seasons combined. The majority of the Patriots losses typically come on the road, and here I have 3 of their 4 losses in away games.
I think the New England Patriots will finish the season with 12 wins.