NFL DRAFT DIAMONDS

2014 NFL Season Predictions: New England Patriots

Looks like the Patriots decided to go back to the old blueprint of a strong running game and a potentially dominant defense. For years the Pats have reaped the benefits of beating up on a weak division and rode the greatness of Tom Brady and Bill Bellicheck to division titles and high playoff seeds, but have been unable to seal the deal. Despite a Super Bowl appearance and back to back AFC championship game losses they have been a flawed team.

Offense

While some people have said that Tom Brady is no longer an elite QB, last year was a testament to his overall leadership and greatness. In an offense that was built to feature their 2 tight ends. 1 was lost for most of the season Rob Gronkowski with an injury and the other was released for off- field issues (putting it mildly). The offense had to adjust on the fly, Brady turned punt returner Julian Edelman into a 1000 yard receiver. At times It looked as if Edelman was the only one Brady trusted out there. He also was throwing to 2 rookies who were learning on the fly in Aaron Dobson and Kembrell Thompkins. Thompkins has come a long way and looks to be a key part of the Pats passing game this season. A healthy return of TE Rob Gronkowski will definitely be a big boost to the offense as he may be the best In the game at his position. The Pats have a strong offensive line led by tackle Nate Solder and . As New England looks rely more on the run game they will need that group open holes for RBs Steven Ridley and Shane Vereen. Vereen is one of the better receiving backs in the league and has earned Brady’s confidence. As for Ridley, he is the teams most talented running back but he seems to stay in Coach Bellicheck’s doghouse due to ball security issues. For the offense to reach its ceiling they need him to be at the top of his game. The offense has been impressive thus far in preseason, I know it’s just preseason.

Defense

The Pats defense was solid last year before they were massacred by injuries. But this year ……. Man they look good! The return of a healthy NT Vince Wilfork wreaking havoc in the middle and LB Jerod Mayo a tackling machine are vital to the defense. Jamie Collins is an athletic versatile OLB who was a breakout player last season, and the team is expecting bigger things from him. The Pats secondary was solid but struggled against the leagues better passing games. That will change this year with the signings of former Patriots nemesis Darelle Revis and former Seahawk Brandon Browner at CB. Revis is the best CB in the game and his ability to take away other the teams top WR will immediately upgrade the defense. Safety Devin McCourty is a former corner who has developed into a pro bowl safety.

This team is built to win a championship. It’s built just like the old championship teams and despite what people may say, Bellicheck is still the best coach in the league and the defense looks to be dominant and Brady is surrounded by a talented cast.

Prediction- New England Patriots 13-3

This article was written by Justin Walters of Sports Ruckus. Make sure you follow @SportsRuckus.

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