Two-a-Days: 2010 New England Patriots
Today’s team is the New England Patriots, a squad that has seen varying levels of success over the past few years. In the last three seasons alone, the Patriots have going 16-0, lost a Super Bowl, lost their quarterback for the season, made the playoffs at 10-6, missed the playoffs at 11=5, and oh yea, there was that whole Spy Gate thing, too!
So what’s on tap for the 2010 New England Patriots? Here is our NFL preview of the reigning AFC East champions.
The Patriots were up and down during the 2009 season. Tom Brady’s return to the field probably took way too much energy out of the team early in the season. Still, they were able to bounce back, take control of the division, and get to a 10-6 AFC East best record. However, the Patriots struggled on the road, where they went 2-6 on the season. And despite their 11th overall ranking, the Patrios defense looked abysmal at time, so much so, that head coach Bill Belichik was put in a position where it was better to go for it on fourth down on his side of the field than punt the ball away.
At the end of the day though, the Pats went undefeated at home, won the AFC East, and made it to the playoffs. They proceeded to get molly-whopped by the Baltimore Ravens, but not having lost Wes Welker t injury the week before certainly didn’t put them in the best position to win that game either.
The Patriots made some interesting moves this offseason, including the signing of Torry Holt, who should make for a nice possession receiver opposite of Randy Moss, and he may even be able to run some routes out of the slot while Wes Welker is recovering. The Patriots also inked Alge Crumpler to a deal to play tight end. The Patriots released Adalius Thomas, who wasn’t producing in this defense, and the Patriots let TE Ben Watson and CB Shawn Springs go as well. There were no other significant moves made by the Patriots, at least not on the roster. Tom Brady remains a member of the team, but going into the last year of his contract, Brady has yet to work out a deal to keep him in New England after the season.
2010 NFL Projections
The New England Patriots have some stiff competition in the division this year. The Miami Dolphins have a brand new toy in Brandon Marshall, and the New York Jets are the popular favorites to win this division. Still, the Patriot remain the most experienced team in the division, and the only team in the AFC East without any questions at the quarterback position. Unfortunately, neither the Pats defense nor their schedule will make it easy on this team during the 2010 NFL season. With passing attacks like that of the Colts in Week 11, or rushing attacks like that of the Dolphins in Miami during Week 4, the Patriots have a potential 8 games against offenses last year’s defense was unable to handle. That doesn’t even include the New York Jets, who are definitely going to be a tough out for New England.
As a result, I think we see the Patriots take another step farther away from their years as a dynasty, as they stumble into single digit wins for the first time since the 2002 NFL season. I project the New England Patriots will go 9-7 this year and miss the playoffs.