New England Patriots Preview: What Will Their Record Be In 2013?
New England Patriots 2013 Regular Season Record Preview
Going into 2013, the New England Patriots are a totally revamped offense and an emerging defense. Many prognosticators are predicting the Patriots to struggle but still win the AFC East.
With less than a month to go until the regular season begins for the Patriots, it is almost time to watch the games to see if these analysts are right. For my purposes, I like to look at the schedule as a whole each year, breaking down each individual game right before the start of the regular season. Now that I have started writing for Rant Sports, I am going to do so officially in a slideshow for all to see. That way, fans of the Patriots would be able to have the schedule laid out for them. They would then be able to come up with their own conclusions about how the Patriots might fare in the 2013 season.
In this schedule breakdown, I will analyze each matchup game by game, week by week, giving analysis on why the Patriots will win or lose for the entire 2013 regular season schedule. Then, on the bottom of each page, I will put the Patriots’ projected record after that particular game’s results. This will be done for all 16 games on the Patriots' regular season schedule in order, from week 1 to week 17. By the end, you will be able to see what I project the Patriots’ regular season record to be this year.
For obvious reasons, the playoffs will not be included since teams and seeds are not yet known. Also, the Patriots have a bye in week 10 and that is why I have no breakdown for that week.
I will start with the first game on the schedule for the Patriots against the Buffalo Bills.
Week 1: New England Patriots At Buffalo Bills
On the opening day of the 2013 NFL season for the Patriots, they will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills. I see the Patriots jumping out to a significant lead early. They will be in command throughout and will be able to run out the clock most of the fourth quarter.
This matchup will be E.J. Manuel’s first game in the NFL, and the Patriots’ defense loves to feast on rookie QBs. With an underwhelming offense in Buffalo and a defense that is improving in New England, the Bills will not be able to keep up with the Patriots in this game.
I expect Manuel to throw a few interceptions in the game. Bill Belichick’s defensive scheme should be enough to confuse the rookie at certain key points in the game, allowing the Patriots to take advantage of a few of his mistakes.
The Bills will score a few times near the end to make it look competitive, but this game will never be in doubt. I predict a win for the Patriots in the opener 34-24. Patriots' regular season record so far 1-0.
Week 2: New England Patriots VS. New York Jets
In this game, Mark Sanchez will face off against Tom Brady yet again as Sanchez is expected to be the starter in 2013. This game will be a massive blowout. Brady will be able to shred the Jets’ defense while Sanchez will turn the football over a few times on offense.
With Darrelle Revis traded from New York, Brady will be able to take his time to find the open receiver. With Sione Pouha also released from the New York Jets, the running game will be able to gain yardage in bunches as the Jets lack an enforcer on their defense to stop the run.
Also, the Jets lack the offensive weapons to compete with New England on that side of the ball, especially if they are without WR Santonio Holmes.
All of these things point to the Patriots dominating this game, especially with them playing at home. I predict another win for the Patriots in Week 2, winning the game in a laugher, 41-10. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 2-0.
Week 3: New England Patriots VS. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In this matchup, the Patriots will encounter their first road block. The Patriots will go up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Josh Freeman.
In the game, Brady will have to face a daunting Tampa defense that has Revis and Johnthan Banks as CBs, and they signed Dashon Goldson to anchor their safety group. The team also has Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, Mike Williams, and Kevin Ogletree as offensive weapons.
These players will step up and give the Patriots problems. The New England defense will break and the Tampa offensive line will keep Freeman well protected for the majority of the game. I see Williams having a huge game in particular, as none of the Pats’ corners except Aqib Talib have the ability to cover a player of his caliber. Talib, of course, will be in charge of covering Jackson.
Faced with all of these challenges, the Pats will struggle in their first loss of the regular season. Tampa Bay will win this game 37-24. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 2-1.
Week 4: New England Patriots At Atlanta Falcons
In this matchup against the Falcons, the Patriots will return to their winning ways. This game will be close and high scoring, but the Patriots will end up on top when it is over. Julio Jones will be able to break free once or twice for a big gain and a TD, but Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White will have average games.
The Patriots will be able to stifle the Falcons’ run game most of the time, but I believe the Falcons will score at least one TD on the ground. Likewise, the Patriots will be able to run the football effectively throughout the game.
Also, I expect Aaron Dobson to have a huge game, overmatching former Patriot CB Asante Samuel on several occasions.
With Atlanta releasing DE John Abraham in the offseason, they will lack the necessary pass rush to get to Brady consistently. Brady will then have his choice of receivers in this game and as I said before, Dobson will be frequently targeted.
These are two good teams and it should be an exciting game to watch. The Patriots will win this game on a game-winning drive orchestrated by Brady, 34-30. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 3-1.
Week 5: New England Patriots At Cincinnati Bengals
In this matchup, the Patriots will come up short again. The team will struggle defending second year receiver Mohamed Sanu. He will catch a plethora of passes and a score. A.J. Green will be kept in check for most of the game, but he will get in the end zone at some point during the game.
For the Patriots, they will struggle running the ball against the likes of James Harrison and Rey Maualuga up front. They will become too one dimensional and corners like Brandon Ghee will take advantage for the Cincinatti Bengals. The Patriots will have to rely solely on Brady for this game, but it won’t be enough to come out on top.
The Patriots will suffer their second loss of the season in this game, although the score will be close. The Bengals will win this game 27-23. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 3-2.
Week 6: New England Patriots VS. New Orleans Saints
The Patriots will get back in the win column in this game against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints’ secondary is not good enough to compete against the New England offense, and that is the main reason why the Pats will win.
If the Patriots can get guys like Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins involved in the deep passing game, which I suspect that they will, the Saints’ secondary will break. The Saints will not be able to run the football effectively in this game either, leaving their offense one-dimensional.
With nothing to rely on but Drew Brees, the Saints will make a few critical passing mistakes that Belichick will prepare his defense to capitalize on. Those mistakes will be enough for the Saints to falter against New England.
The Patriots, meanwhile, will be able to use all dimensions of their offense and will win this game by a score of 38-21. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 4-2.
Week 7: New England Patriots At New York Jets
This rematch with the Jets will result in a win for the Patriots just like the first game. However, this game won’t be quite the blowout that the first game will be. The main reason for this is the team will have Holmes back from injury and they will be playing at home this time around.
In their own house, the last thing the Jets will want is to be decimated by the Patriots a second time. The Patriots will be able to run the ball just like the first game, but the Jets’ secondary will have improved enough to keep Brady from totally dominating the game.
I predict Shane Vereen will have a big game in this matchup as a dual threat, both on the ground and through the air. The Pats will win again, but this time the score will be much closer. The Patriots will win the game 31-23. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 5-2.
Week 8: New England Patriots VS. Miami Dolphins
The first of two division games with the Miami Dolphins will see the Patriots win their sixth game of the season. However, this game will be another close call.
Newly acquired receiver Mike Wallace has always given the Patriots fits, and that will continue in this game. He will burn Talib on multiple occasions with his blazing speed, resulting in at least one score. This will set up the running game and Lamar Miller to have some open running lanes to score himself.
For the Patriots, they will be able to take advantage of the Dolphins' inability to cover their tight ends. Rob Gronkowski should be back to his old form in time for this game, and he will be a large contributor for New England. The running game should improve with Gronk as a blocker as well, so expect the team to excel running the football too.
With Brady getting his favorite weapon back, he will receive a big enough boost to get the job done. Overall, this game will be hard fought on both sides, with the Patriots winning the game on a last second field goal. They will win this game 27-24. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 6-2.
Week 9: New England Patriots VS. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Patriots play the Steelers Week 9. This matchup should be a piece of cake for the Patriots. With the Steelers losing stars like Wallace and James Harrison in free agency, the Steelers team that used to instill fear in the hearts of NFL teams now seems like a distant memory.
Taking into account that the Patriots have always had great success against the Steelers, even the great teams of the past, they should have no problem winning this game.
The Patriots will be able to do everything well on offense in this game. They will be able to take advantage of the deep pass with Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor declining the last few years.
Expect Dobson to have another big game in this one. The run game will be able to produce as well, with no Harrison on the line to instill fear in their hearts.
Expect the Patriots to win this game and win convincingly. They will get the victory 41-20. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 7-2.
Week 11: New England Patriots At Carolina Panthers
This matchup against Carolina should also be easy pickings for New England. The Patriots know how to stop opposing quarterbacks that run the football. They will be able to call on Jerod Mayo to spy on Cam Newton, therefore preventing him from scrambling for huge yardage.
If the Patriots can keep Newton from scrambling effectively, which they should be able to do, he does not have the necessary passing accuracy to dissect the Patriots' defense. Also, the Panther defense is suspect and does not have the personnel to shut down Brady or his offensive weapons.
The biggest strength that the Panthers possess is their ability to run the football with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. With Vince Wilfork anchoring the Patriot defensive line, running will be very hard to do consistently for the Panthers.
The Panthers will become one dimensional and, as a result, they will lose to the Patriots. The Patriots will win this game 33-10. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 8-2.
Week 12: New England Patriots VS. Denver Broncos
When the Patriots play the Broncos in Week 12, it will be another classic battle of Peyton Manning vs. Brady. Unfortunately for Patriots’ fans, I believe the Broncos will get the better of the Pats this time around.
The Broncos possess far too many offensive weapons to account for in Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Montee Ball, Eric Decker, Jacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, and of course, Manning.
The Patriots will be able to put up some offensive numbers in this game, but they will not match the offensive output for Denver.
This game will be another close one, but Manning will have more to work with on both sides of the ball. As a result, the Broncos will hand the Patriots their third loss of the 2013 season. I project the score to be 28-20 Broncos in this one. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 8-3
Week 13: New England Patriots At Houston Texans
In Week 13, the Patriots will travel to Houston to take on the Houston Texans. The past two times that the Patriots faced the Texans they destroyed them. In this encounter, however, I believe that the Texans will beat the Patriots, handing them their fourth loss of the season and their second in a row.
The reason for this is because of the acquisitions that they made during the offseason. The Texans brought in Ed Reed and drafted WR DeAndre Hopkins in the first round.
These two players will serve as nightmares against the Patriots. Hopkins is a big receiver with excellent hands. Lining up next to Andre Johnson, the Patriots will have to use either Alfonzo Dennard or Ras-I Dowling to cover him, which to me, is a total mismatch.
As for Reed, he is one of, if not the best, safety of all-time. He has been especially menacing in his career to the Patriots and Brady. He can change a team’s defense single-handedly and the Texans will be that team in 2013.
Between Reed, Johnson, J.J. Watt, Hopkins, Arian Foster, Ben Tate, and Owen Daniels, the Texans are loaded with talent this season.
In this game, they will prevent the Patriots from moving the ball consistently down the field, limiting them to very few scoring opportunities. The Patriots will not be able to stop the Texans’ weapons consistently either.
This will all lead to the Pats losing their fourth game of the season. I predict the Texans will win this game 30-17. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 8-4.
Week 14: New England Patriots VS. Cleveland Browns
In this Week 14 matchup against the Cleveland Browns, the Patriots will get back into the win column in a big way. The Patriots will be able to move the football with ease against a mediocre Cleveland defense, with the exception of CB Joe Haden.
As mediocre as the Browns’ defense is, their offense is just as bad. The quarterback for the Browns, Brandon Weeden, had a very poor season last year. He is a quarterback who is very mistake prone, and the Patriots will be able to take advantage of his accuracy and arm strength deficiencies.
The Patriots should be able to put up monster numbers against the Browns, resulting in their second blowout victory of the year. I predict the score in this game to be 34-9 Patriots. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 9-4.
Week 15: New England Patriots At Miami Dolphins
In the second encounter between the Patriots and Dolphins of the 2013 season, I am predicting that the Dolphins will beat the Patriots this time around. Division games are always tough and the Patriots tend to lose at least one game in their division each year.
I believe that the Dolphins will be able to put a lot of pressure on Brady in this matchup, causing him to get flustered in the pocket and possibly make some mistakes. They will do this with the help of rookie DE Dion Jordan and veteran DE Cameron Wake.
The thing that is different in this encounter from the last one is that the Dolphins will be playing at home in this matchup. The Patriots will have no answer for Wallace again in this one, and his play will go a long way towards the Dolphins winning the game.
Ultimately, I believe this game will be won on a last second score. I believe the Dolphins will win this game after Brady in a rarity, turns the ball over in some way. The final score in this one will be 21-20 Dolphins. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 9-5.
Week 16: New England Patriots At Baltimore Ravens
In Week 16, the Patriots will travel to Baltimore to take on the Baltimore Ravens. This matchup will be the first time the two teams have met since the Patriots were eliminated by the Ravens in the AFC Championship game last year. In this game, however, the Patriots will win, taking their revenge out on the Ravens.
With Anquan Boldin gone from Baltimore on offense, and with Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Paul Kruger, and others gone on the defensive side of the ball, the Ravens have been gutted for 2013.
The Patriots, although they have their own issues with free agent departures, still have most of their core defense intact and Brady on offense.
The Ravens, however, are really hurting at several positions going into the year.
As a result, the Ravens should struggle in this game. They lack the personnel to put pressure on Brady and cover his receivers like in years past. They also don’t have the offensive weapons to keep up with the Patriots on the scoreboard.
The Patriots will win this game by a score of 31-17. Patriots' projected regular season record so far 10-5.
Week 17: New England Patriots VS. Buffalo Bills
In the Patriots' 2013 regular season finale, I predict that the team will thrash the Bills the second time around. In December, with possible playoff implications up for grabs, the Patriots will give their all in order to win this game.
At 11-5, they are almost assured a division title. At 10-6, anything can happen. The Patriots will win this game at home because they will take advantage of a Bills’ defensive line that has struggled to stop the run in recent years.
Brady will be able to sling it early and put up quite a few points in his house. Then, after he has done his damage, the team will play ball control, running the clock out in the second half for the win.
The Patriots will move on to 11-5 on the season and, if everything works in their favor, will win the AFC East title once again in 2013. The final score in this one, 34-7 Patriots. Patriots' projected regular season record: 11-5.