After predicting the outcomes for the first four games on the 2013 New England Patriots’ schedule and then examining their next four contests from Weeks 5-8, I will now analyze their matchups for Weeks 9 through 13.
According to my predictions, the New England Patriots enter Week 9 with a dominant 7-1 record. The Pittsburgh Steelers visit Gillette Stadium this week in a clash of two of the most successful teams from the AFC in the past decade. The Steelers, though, are suddenly on the decline after a sub-par season a year ago. The Patriots tried to snatch restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders from the Steelers in the off-season, but Pittsburgh matched the $2.5 million offer sheet that New England delivered to Sanders. The Steelers are no longer one of the upper echelon teams in the conference and will not be able to beat a Patriots team that is considered one of the leagues’ elites.
Patriots 27, Steelers 17
Week 10 is a bye week for the New England Patriots. While their bye comes later in the season than usual, this may be a perfect time for players to heal up in time for their stretch run towards the playoffs.
The Carolina Panthers will host the Patriots at Bank of America Stadium on Monday Night Football. The Patriots will head into this contest on 15 days rest. The Panthers are locked in a tough situation in the ultra-competitive NFC South and will likely be just under the .500 mark at this point in the season. The Panthers will be hyped-up for a Monday night game in their stadium, but their secondary will struggle to contain Tom Brady and the Patriots’ passing attack. The Panthers’ secondary had extra difficulty guarding big bodied tight ends over the middle of the field last season so this could be a memorable night for talented tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Patriots 34, Panthers 28
Week 12 features the most intriguing game on the Patriots’ schedule. Wes Welker makes his highly anticipated return to Gillette Stadium with the Denver Broncos. The newly-signed Patriots’ receiver Danny Amendola will look to prove the team made the right choice in signing him long-term over Welker. Then, of course, the legendary rivalry of Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning is revisited. Brady owns Manning head-head and that is why I am taking the Patriots to win this match-up, improving Brady’s record to 10-4 (including playoffs) against Peyton Manning.
Patriots 38, Broncos 31
The Patriots travel to Reliant Stadium to play the Houston Texans in Week 13 in a rematch of the 2012 AFC Divisional Playoffs. The Texans are looking for a much different result this time around. Houston signed safety Ed Reed in the off-season, a player the Patriots coveted to shore up their secondary. Houston is one of the better teams in the AFC and will hand the Patriots their second loss of the season. The Patriots will be 10-2 through 13 weeks of the NFL season.
Texans 26, Patriots 21
Tyler Ash is a New England Patriots Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter @TyAsh34 Like His Facebook Page, or add him to your network on Google Plus … He writes NBA articles and MLB articles for Rant Sports as well.