It has been awhile since I have written an article on Bleacher Report, but with the NFL Preseason under way I thought now was a good time. I know baseball is just starting to heat up with intense pennant races and self-induced headaches after watching your team lose a game they should have won.
With that said, I have been thinking lately, "can the Patriots go 16-0 again?" So I figured I would break down their schedule and see if it really is a possibility.
Let's get started.
This could arguably be the biggest game of the season for the Patriots. No, I am not crazy; hear me out on this one! This game will be the return of Tom Brady, who as we all know, missed last season due to a torn ACL.
The first time the Brady drops back to pass and is forced to move in the pocket, all of Patriot Nation will be holding their breaths. However, this should not be a tough game because, well, it is Buffalo. I know they improved with the acquisition of Terrell Owens, but seriously, they are not that good. Prediction: Win (1-0)
Week Two-New England at New York Jets
It seems as if the Jets finally found a "Franchise Quarterback" in Mark Sanchez. However, I do not think that will be enough to beat the Patriots in Week Two. Last season the Jets ranked 29th in passing yards allowed per game, and as we all know passing is the Patriots specialty.
The only thing that may work in the Jets favor is a strong defensive line that may be able to get Brady moving in the pocket, which is what teams want to do this season. Even with that said, I do not see a rookie quarterback out-playing Tom Brady. Prediction: Win (2-0)
Week Three-Atlanta at New England
Last season Matt Ryan gave Falcons fans hope when, as a rookie, led them to the playoffs and gave them the confidence they needed to finally move on from Michael Vick. He also performed well enough to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. While he improved the offense, the defense is still a big question mark.
They finished 21st in the NFL in passing yards per game last season and 27th in interceptions. I am a big fan of Matt Ryan and have been since his college days but his defense will fail him in Week Three. Prediction: Win (3-0)
Week Four-Baltimore at New England
For the second straight week The Patriots will take on a 2008 rookie sensation. Like Ryan did with the Falcons, Joe Flacco led the Ravens to the playoffs and as far as the AFC Championship Game.
As we all know by now, the Ravens rely heavily on their defense and have more playmakers on defense than they do offense. The Ravens finished 1st in the NFL last year in interceptions and second in passing yards allowed per game last year. This could be one of the best defensive battles of the season.
However, the Ravens finished 28th in the NFL in passing yards and that just will not be enough to beat the Patriots. Prediction: Win (4-0)
Week Five-New England at Denver
Now Patriots fans will understand when I say how they always have trouble playing in Denver.
Last year, however, the Patriots did steamroll the Broncos with Matt Cassel as the quarterback, so that makes me feel a little better. The Broncos have a new Head Coach, Josh McDaniels, who was the Pats Offensive Coordinator, so he knows how New England runs their offense.
The biggest problem with the Broncos is at quarterback. Kyle Orton is entering his first season as the Broncos starter and while he does win, he usually had to rely on the Bears defense. That will not work in Denver. Prediction: (5-0)
Week Six-Tennessee at New England
The Titans were a big surprise last year starting 10-0 and finishing 13-3. Their defense was one of the best in the league last year finishing in the top-five in almost every category.
However, they took a huge hit when starting DT Albert Haynesworth left and signed with the Redskins. It is going to be tough to replace a man of Haynesworth's stature as his presence alone creates fear in quarterbacks.
With Kerry Collins as the Titans starter, I have to feel pretty confident if I am the Patriots because while he is a great game manager, usually teams are playing from behind and are forced to throw against the Pats and if that is the case, they could be in trouble. Prediction: Win (6-0)
Week Seven-New England at Tampa Bay (London, England)
I could rant on and on about how dumb of an idea it is to play a game in London but that is not what I am here for. The Bucs used to have a defense that put fear in anyone that stepped onto the field. Over the last few years they just do not seem to have that same intimidation factor that they once had. This should be an easy win for the Pats. Prediction: Win (7-0)
Week Eight-Bye Week
Week Nine-Miami at New England
In the first meeting between these two teams last season the Dolphins unveiled their version of the "Wild Cat Offense." It caught every Patriot by surprise and the Dolphins had one of the greatest upsets in NFL History. The Patriots have studied the film from that game and will not be caught off guard again.
Chad Pennington did a great job leading the Dolphins to the playoffs last year but without a legitimate number one receiver I cannot see them making a big impact this season. Prediction: Win (8-0)
Week 10-New England at Indianapolis
This could very well be the game of the year. These games seem to have it all, great quarterbacks, great receivers, great defense, great coaching, you name it, and these games have it.
This will be the first time since 2001 that the Colts will not have Tony Dungy as their head coach, which could play a factor. The Colts biggest weakness is their rush defense.
Last season, they finished 24th in the NFL against the run. They may luck out because the Pats generally do not rely on the run, however, with Fred Taylor that may change. I think this is a game that will come down to the wire.
You may call me bias, but when it comes to making the better decisions, I have to go with Tom Brady. Prediction: Win (9-0)
Week 11-New York Jets at New England
As I said previously for this matchup, I cannot see a rookie quarterback and a subpar defense out-playing Tom Brady. The Jets are without a legitimate No. 1 receiver and that will play a big factor in the outcome. Prediction: Win (10-0)
Week 12-New England at New Orleans
If you like offense then you are in for a treat. Last season Drew Brees came within a first down of breaking the single season passing yards record. There is no doubt that the Saints can score at will and can drive a defensive coordinator crazy. The Saints' defense, however, is not nearly as dominate.
Last season, the Saints finished 23rd in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. The Saints' offense is one of the best in the league but without a decent defense, they will not beat top-tier teams. Prediction: Win (11-0)
Week 13-New England at Miami
Like Denver, the Pats always seem to have trouble playing in Miami. However, last season Matt Cassel went into Miami and won big, so if Matt Cassel can do it, then Tom Brady definitely can. Prediction: Win (12-0)
Week 14-Carolina at New England
This is an interesting matchup. If the Panthers have the Jake Delhomme of the Super Bowl season then they could be a tough opponent, but if they have the Jake Delhomme from the last few years (excluding last year) then it is an easy win for the Pats.
The Panthers finished 18th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game last year and 16th in passing yards allowed per game. A huge factor in the outcome of this game will be Julius Peppers and whether or not he is with the team.
The Patriots had inquired about Peppers and he said he would like to go there, but as of now it does not look like he is going anywhere. The Panthers also finished 19th in passing yards per game, which I do not think is good enough to beat a high-powered offense like that of the Patriots. Prediction: Win (13-0)
Week 15-New England at Buffalo
Like I said before, the Bills just are not good enough to beat the Patriots and I cannot see it happening. Prediction: Win (14-0)
Week 16-Jacksonville at New England
The Jaguars were one of the biggest disappointments last season. David Garrard just could not develop a rhythm with his receivers and had trouble moving the ball. During the off-season the Jags signed Torry Holt to add some depth to their receiving corps.
The Jags finished 24th last year in passing yards allowed per game and 20th in total points allowed. This is just another match up I cannot see the Pats losing. Prediction: Win (15-0)
Week 17-New England at Houston
If the Pats are playing for an undefeated season, then you will see the starter out there until the game is out of reach. If not then this game will be predominately backups. While the Texans will probably be playing for nothing, they will throw everything they have at the Pats as they will try and send a message.
However, the Pats are much better than the Texans and should easily win this one. Thus concluding a perfect regular season. Prediction: Win (16-0)
I know all of you non-Patriot fans will disagree with me and I understand why. I am just saying that with what the Patriots have and after doing some research, I think they have a legitimate shot at 16-0. I do not even want to begin touching on the playoffs yet, we will save that for another day.
Feel free to comment and tell me why you agree/disagree. I just ask that you back up your statements please.
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