The New England Patriots need to prioritize some critical shortcomings to capture another Super Bowl title.
Chief among them are their laissez-faire attitude, lackluster defense, complacent coaching staff and need for edge-rushers and defensive backs. Luckily they have the necessary resources and personnel in place to address their issues with a focused and diligent offseason.
After the Patriots came three wins shy of hoisting two more Lombardi Trophies, fans in the area have adopted a bit of Chicken Little's "the sky is falling" mentality.
The Patriots have lost three home playoff games in the past four seasons, and certain media outlets are sticking the fork in them quicker than a medium-rare filet mignon.
Online sportswriters openly question whether or not Tom Brady and Bill Belichick still have what it takes to win the big game. Pundits appear ready to push the panic button as pressure mounts on the team to win its elusive fourth Super Bowl.
In our "what have you done for me lately" culture, Brady is suddenly treated with the same regard as a carton of milk left sitting on the counter. He has somehow soured and is ready to expire.
This is lunacy, of course. Without posting the eye-popping numbers of years past, Brady is still playing at an MVP level. However, few outside New England recognize that, as Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter touches on here in an excellent video essay.
With Brady and Belichick piloting the ship, the Patriots will always contend. However, given the impossibly high expectations surrounding the team, simply contending isn't enough.
The Patriots, particularly Brady and Belichick, are victims of their own success, and only another Super Bowl ring will wash away the foul taste of defeat.
Here are the 10 highest priority issues the Patriots must address to stop merely contending and resume winning in 2013 and beyond.