New England Patriots: Consensus 2013 Preseason Predictions

With the NFL season right around the corner, our contributors have been looking into their crystal balls to come up with our regular-season predictions for each team and division.

That said, the crystal balls don't always show the same information.

Therefore, I figured it would make sense to compile and sort out all of our predictions for each team and let's begin with the New England Patriots. (Our crystal balls were in sync on the Pats.)

Based on our five prognosticators, here are the stats:

  • Best record: 11-5
  • Worst record: 10-6
  • Average number of wins: 10.8

Here are the comments for each contributor's prediction for the Patriots (sorted by most wins):

Kevin Hanson (link to Kevin's AFC East predictions): 11-5, 1st place

To say that it's been an interesting offseason for the Patriots is to put it mildly.

Not only has there been plenty of turnover on the offensive side of the ball, five surgeries over the past nine months for tight end Rob Gronkowski means that it's unlikely that he will be ready for Week 1. With Tom Brady still steering the ship, however, the Patriots should continue to own one of the league's elite offenses.

Finishing second in the NFL last year in rushing attempts (519), the Patriots will continue to rely heavily on their rushing attack featuring the 1-2 punch of Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. If new slot receiver Danny Amendola stays healthy and Gronkowski doesn't miss more than a month, their offense may not drop off too much, if at all, from last year.

Despite finishing in the bottom quartile in total defense last year, the Patriots were tied for ninth in scoring defense (20.7 points allowed per game) and were one of six teams with 20-plus intercepted passes.

Since Brady became the team's starter in 2001, the Patriots have had a winning record every year. In addition, they have double-digit wins in 10 consecutive seasons and in 11 of the past 12 seasons. While the gap between first and second place is narrowing, the Patriots will keep both of those streaks alive.

Sean Beazley (link to Sean's AFC East predictions): 11-5, 1st place

The Patriots are clearly the class of the division.

The Aaron Hernandez situation would devastate many teams both on and off the field, not in New England. The leadership of Tom Brady, and coaching of Bill Belichick is the reason why this is no big deal (from a football standpoint).

The Patriots also parted ways with both starting WRs Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd. They did bring in Danny Amendola from the Rams, who should fill Welker's slot spot, but Amendola has a history of injuries. In the end, it really doesn't matter who is on the field as Tom Brady can make anyone a superstar.

I really believe this season is the season that we are going to look at in a few years when we say Tom Brady is the best QB to ever play the game.

Dan Yanotchko (link to Dan's AFC East predictions): 11-5, 1st place

The Patriots start the year with many questions on offense, as they are missing the following pass catchers from last year: Rob Gronkowski (likely for opener, possibly more), Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, and Danny Woodhead.

Although the Patriots are getting younger on the offensive side of the ball, it is their defense that will finally start to catch up with the offense's performance of years past. The Patriots will have a great front-seven anchored by Vince Wilfork and also are stout up the middle with one of the best middle linebackers in the game in Jerod Mayo.

Although the Patriots seem to have more questions than answers at the start, they still have the best coach in the league, and Tom Brady under center, and they have no real challenge in the AFC East.

Steve Woodhull (link to Steve's AFC East predictions): 11-5, 1st place

Surprise, the Patriots defense is good again. The Patriots are now solid at the two corner positions with Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard, both available for full season (assuming they stay healthy and out of trouble). Rookie LB Jamie Collins has been impressive and he joins second-year player Chandler Jones.

Despite all the questions on the offensive side of the ball (Wes Welker leaving, Rob Gronkowski injured, Aaron Hernandez legal trouble, etc.), they will be solid. They have Tom Brady and they can run the ball.

And they are so good at running the ball, the Patriots might be best rushing team in NFL in 2013. Despite the reputation as team that throws the ball, the numbers and personnel don’t bear it out. The Pats were actually seventh in the NFL rushing last year and this team is anchored on left side of the line by Nate Solder at tackle and Logan Mankins at guard.

As is always the case, the Patriots will be focused (regardless of the level of distraction from Hernandez) and roll through a weak division on their way to another playoff run.

John Trifone (link to John's AFC East predictions): 10-6, 1st place

I expect the Patriots to take something of a step back. I’m not giving them a lock to go 6-0 in the division, and they have some tough games that include @ Atlanta, @ Cincinnati, vs. New Orleans, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Carolina, vs. Denver, @ Houston, and @ Baltimore. While I have full confidence in Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Patriots offense may struggle more than in years past. I still like them to win the division, but at least going into the season, I wouldn’t consider New England a true threat to win it all.

For more teams and divisions, view our 2013 preseason predictions centralized page here.

Vote on our 2013 NFL division-winner polls.

[Resource: Patriots schedule | Full 2013 schedule | Patriots tickets]

2013 fantasy rankings: Quarterbacks - Running Backs - Wide Receivers - Tight Ends

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