The New England Patriots offense could be dragged down by their passing attack in 2013, contrary to previous seasons in which this unit excelled at this facet of the game. Despite having one of the most skilled and deep running corps’ in the league, the Patriots will likely be unable to replicate their success from a season ago, because of their immense uncertainties at the wide receiver position.
Although the Patriots endured a tumultuous offseason, there is hope for this team in 2013 as their defensive unit is highly improved and severely underrated.
After ranking 25th in total defense in 2012, the Patriots’ defense is expected to make a big leap as a unit in the upcoming NFL season.
The Patriots strengthened their previously maligned secondary by signing safety Adrian Wilson and re-signing Aqib Talib. Assuming that cornerback Alfonzo Dennard is not released and Devin McCourty continues to flourish at the free safety position, the Patriots will feature their most impressive secondary since their perfect regular season in 2007.
Two-time Pro-Bowler Jerod Mayo will spearhead the linebackers, along with Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower. If second-year player Hightower can polish his game, the line-backing crew could be primed for success, especially if rookie Jamie Collins can produce at weak-side linebacker.
The defensive line is arguably the strongest aspect of their refining defense, especially with the free-agent addition of defensive end/tackle Tommy Kelly. With Kelly now on board, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork will finally have a partner-in-crime to rush the passer. With Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich manning the left and right defensive-end positions respectively, the Patriots defensive line will be feared in 2013.
The Patriots may no longer be involved in high scoring affairs, but that does not mean they will not continue their annual dominance in the regular season. The rest of the NFL would be wise not to underestimate the Patriots’ defense, which has the potential to be a top-10 defensive unit in 2013.