5 Critical Takeaways from New England Patriots' Season Opener

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5 Critical Takeaways from New England Patriots' Season Opener
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots to a 23-21 victory over Buffalo in Week 1.

The more things change for the New England Patriots, the more they appear to stay the same.

That was evident when the Patriots took on the Buffalo Bills in the season opener and defeated them in a come-from-behind fashion.

Claiming New England has dominance over the Bills is an understatement. The Patriots are 24-3 against Buffalo since head coach Bill Belichick took over in 2000. 

This year, it seemed as if Buffalo would get its chance to upset that dominance, yet New England was able to clamp down and move into Bills territory which resulted in a 35-yard, go-ahead field goal in the waning seconds to secure the victory.

A lot has changed for the Patriots this offseason. Yet for all the changes, a number of truths still remain. 

Quarterback Tom Brady is still elite and can get the job done regardless of who is in his receiver corps.  As a result, New England's offense will still be pass-heavy.

The defense is not as bad as some have advertised. Perhaps this defensive unit will be enough to ensure elongated shootouts do not happen.

The Patriots also have a number of good weapons on offense.  Some are obvious while others are ready to break out.

On the flip side however, there are critical concerns.  How will running back Stevan Ridley's inability to hold onto the ball affect his playing time?  If Week 1 was any indication, Ridley's prospects are in jeopardy.

Regardless, New England is happy to come away with a win over a division rival to kick off the 2013 season.  Here are five takeaways that should be considered focus points as the season continues forward.

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