New England Patriots: 5 Reasons Why They Could Be Undefeated in 2011
They signed some big names in the offseason, just like they did in 2007 when they had a 16-0 regular season. However, it didn't end perfectly and 2007 was all for naught.
2011 does have the same potential, but this time we may actually experience a 19-0 season.
Now obviously all this remains to be seen, but if there's one team that can run the table it's the Pats'.
It appears that New England is as deep as ever across the board.
They have a diverse array of RBs that can really change the game tempo in Danny Woodhead, Benjarvis Green-Ellis, rookie Stevan Ridley and veteran Kevin Faulk.
At WR, there's Deion Branch who returned in 2010, Chad Ochocinco, Wes Welker, Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman.
The offensive line has the familiar Dan Koppen, Logan Mankins and Matt Light, as well as the addition of rookie Nate Solder.
Defensively they will be much better, as LB Jerod Mayo comes off an All-Pro selection season. Additionally, there's Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, and Rob Ninkovich.
On the D-line they signed Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter, re-signed Gerard Warren and still have Vince Wilfork—only Albert Haynesworth remains the issue.
In the secondary, we see Leigh Bodden and two-time Pro Bowler Brandon Meriweather, among others.
And, don't forget rookie Ras-I Dowling.
These are all solid NFL players who have proven that they work well with Bill Belichick.
We obviously know their AFC East opponents in Miami, New York and Buffalo.
Outside the division, they must play the entire AFC West and NFC East. They'll sweep the AFC West, but the Chiefs will prove to be their most formidable opponent. Plus, New England always has San Diego's number.
In the NFC East, Philadelphia will be the main concern because of all their offseason acquisitions, as well as current players.
Also, the game is in Philly, which is never an easy road game.
Elsewhere, there's no surprise as they must play Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. The Patriots throttled the Steelers on the road in 2010, so that should happen again in 2011, while the Colts have so many injuries, it's hard to keep track of who is on their roster.
At worst, New England should finish 12-4.
3. Brady's Blindside
Getting left guard Logan Mankins to agree to a deal was clutch. Now the Pats' don't have to rely on another offensive lineman with less experience helping Matt Light protect Brady's blindside.
Brady's the NFL's best player, but no matter how well he performs, he can't do his job unless the offensive line does theirs.
With center Dan Koppen and right guard Dan Connolly it should be an encore offensive performance for Brady in 2011.
Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is the weakest link, but he's still rather decent, but don't be surprised if rookie Nate Solder sees some time in opposite of Matt Light. All in all, Brady's blindside is the most important.
Thus, the veteran Patriot offensive linemen must be like the guards protecting the gold at Fort Knox.
2. Bill Belichick
This one goes without saying, but after the defenses' dismal overall performance in 2010, you know that Bill Belichick will be riding them all season.
Last year the Patriots' defense suffered arguably their worst season under coach Belichick, allowing almost 260 passing yards per game and ranking them No. 30 in the NFL.
Although they ranked No. 11 in rush defense, part of that could be attributed to offenses throwing the ball against them all game. Also, since they did finish 14-2, getting an early lead would force opponents to throw the ball.
But, for those that know Belichick, those are nothing but excuses in allowing so many passing yards.
He will fix it and they will be much, much better.
1. Tom Brady
Are you shocked? Then clearly you haven't been following pro football for very long.
Here's the thing about Tom Brady, he can make any group of wide receivers look amazing. When he led the Pats' to those three Super Bowl victories his WRs consisted of David Patton, David Givens, Troy Brown and Deion Branch, none of whom are going to be even considered for Hall of Fame induction.
Now look at his RBs: Antwain Smith, Larry Centers, Corey Dillon and Marc Edwards. None of them will even be close to Hall of Fame consideration.
Also, the Pats' last three Super Bowl wins did not have the same offensive line.
But, what has remained consistent since the 2000 NFL season?
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