Everyone predicts another Super Bowl appearance and some even say Brady and the Patriots will go undefeated once again. While I don't necessarily believe either of these statements, I do concede this is a very talented team that will do big things in years to come.
I believe there are at least five different reasons the Patriots won't repeat an undefeated regular season.
Reason No. 5: Too Many Losses on Defense
Not only did New England sport the NFL's No. 1 offense last year, they also had a strong defense. This season they will try and repeat without defensive backs Asante Samuel, Randall Gay and Eugene Wilson.
The defense will also be missing linebacker Rosevelt Colvin. While maybe not the big names or huge play makers of this team, these players were still important to the lineup and without them I don't see the defense being as dominant.
Reason No. 4: Their Schedule Includes 4 Playoff Teams
Though they may have the "easiest" schedule in the NFL this season, they will still have to face four teams that made the playoffs last year. Most notably, they will be up against the Indianapolis Colts, a team that knocked them out of the playoffs in '06 and always gives them a run for their money. New England will also face Pittsburgh, Seattle and San Diego.
Reason No. 3: The Patriots Shouldn't Want to Make Another Run at it
By the time the Patriots had reached the playoffs last year they had burnt so much energy and resources to remain undefeated that they were no longer the team they were in the middle of the season.
Had they given their play makers more of a chance to rest and go into the playoffs fresh maybe things would have been different during the Super Bowl. This season you can expect them to rollover a few games at the end to prepare for the playoffs.
Reason No. 2: Every Opponent Will Be Hungry to Beat Them
Going undefeated in the regular season, and doing it without mercy to obviously beaten teams, will make the Patriots' opponents thirsty for blood (figuratively). Teams that were slaughtered will want to prove themselves and will play with that much more drive and motivation, which could lead to a few upsets.
Reason No. 1: San Diego Aims to Lay Claim to the AFC This Year
Had they not suffered as many injuries, the San Diego Chargers could've very well turned the field goals they scored in the AFC Championship Game into touchdowns, resulting in a victory over New England. The Chargers have been knocking at the AFC's No. 1 spot for a few years now, and you better believe if they stay healthy they'll bust the door down this season.
The Patriots stand in their way and come week five the fate of the AFC will be decided. Either New England beats the Chargers handily and goes on to continue unbeaten or San Diego wins and gives them their first record blemish.
2008 Season Prediction: New England 12-4, first in the AFC East