NFL Season Preview: New England Patriots

Joe WillettSenior Writer IJuly 14, 2008

I'm back after yet another long wait. I hope I can get this done by the time the season starts.  At this point, I'm talking more about regular season than preseason.

I'm a big video game fan, and Madden is coming out in about a month, I've been excited and enjoying the previous edition a lot.

Anyway, on to the defending Super Bowl Champions—wait—I mean nearly defending Super Bowl Champions.  But they lost, so they are just defending second best team.

They lost some pieces, and didn't replace the pieces they lost that well.

So what are they going to do this season?

Key Addition/Subtraction

Marcus Pollard—From the Seahawks

Asante Samuel—To the Eagles

Key Games

Oct. 12, at Chargers—The Chargers are going to be tough, and this is going to be a game between two titans.

Nov. 2, at Colts—Another clash of the titans where the Pats take on the Colts in an always fun rivalry.

Nov. 13, vs. Jets—The Jets rivalry is always fun, and hearing the fans in Gillette Stadium yelling at the Mangini is going to be fun.  Also, offensive blowout on the Patriots side should result in a lot of exciting big plays.

Nov. 30, vs. Steelers—The last really losable game of the year for the Pats, should be interesting how the strong defense of the Steelers holds up against the firepower of the Patriots.

Season Outlook

The Pats lost Asante Samuel and Randall Gay.  They also lost Donte Stallworth and Kyle Brady.

The Stallworth vs. Welker battle of who is better is debatable, but there is no argument that the Pats are better off with Welker.

Also, Welker seems like a player who plays better when he is an undercover guy who is running underneath routes.

The loss of Samuel means that they lost a top-of-the-line corner who can shut down most receivers.  Gay doesn't give you the same fear that Samuel did.

However, Tom Brady is still Tom Brady, Randy Moss is still Randy Moss, and the Pats aren't in any position to be worried about another deep playoff run, and possibly another Super Bowl.

Also, did anybody hear about Randy Moss buying a NASCAR Craftsman Truck team?  That one caught me by surprise, and he is also going about it the right way by building from the ground up, which also caught me by surprise.

My Prediction

The Pats aren't going to pull together another dream 16-0 season, but they are going to be strong.

I would place them at 14-2, but they can finish anywhere from 13-3 to 15-1.