As many people will tell you with little argument, the New England Patriots are the team of the decade for the new millennium. They were the winners of three Super Bowls, and almost had a fourth and a perfect season until the Super Bowl.
Those days are long gone though, and the new Patriots are not the same as those of the past.
In addition to the loss over the last few years of most of the players that made that dynasty possible, adequate replacements have not been brought in to replace those that left.
Not only that, the coaches that made the team possible, along with Scot Pioli, are no longer with the team.
Now, many people will say with Tom Brady under center that the Patriots are still the best team in football. Though Brady will go down as one of the greatest ever, he is not the player he used to be.
Since injuring his knee at the beginning of the 2008 season, Brady never really returned to full form. Some may say that it was because he missed a lot of last year's offseason conditioning program due to that injury.
But what about this year? Brady has not been at Patriots camp like he always was in the past. This is going to hurt because he has new receivers he has to get used to.
Wes Welker tore his ACL and MCL during the last regular season game of last year. There is question as to when he is going to full speed, if at all this year.
Randy Moss is still a great receiver and will probably have a great year with his contract up at the end of the year, and no interest has been shown by the Patriots to resign him.
The biggest question on the offensive line is Logan Mankins, who has been threatened to have his tender offer released on June 15, if he does not sign it before then.
Then there are the defensive concerns. The Patriots secondary is very young, and very inexperienced. Though they have a couple players on their defense that are great players, Vince Wilfork and Brandon Meriweather, the rest of the team is less than Pro Bowl-caliber.
My prediction: The Patriots take a turn for the worse, finishing the season with an 8-8 mark, third place in the AFC East, and out of the playoffs.