Patriots tickets have taken some hits in the offseason and if Bill Belichick is a genius we’ll see it in 2013. To begin with, if we were writing this article three months ago there would be considerable optimism that the Patriots would once again be the cream of the AFC East. certainly the Dolphins are improving and even Buffalo could be a different team. But I don’t think anyone would have been ready to unseat the New England Patriots from their division throne.
Then came some unsettling news. Belichick has been the architect of a blazing hot offense. It’s an offense that relies heavily on a two tight end set and the Patriots have been able to field two of the best tight ends in the NFL in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Wes Welker also plays heavily in the role of favorite receiver and Tom Brady has a comfort zone with this trio. But they’re all gone now. Welker was spurned by New England and found another home in Denver. Rob Gronkowski has been through a number of surgeries and his health is suspect for the season. Most damaging of all, Aaron Hernandez is now sitting in jail charged with murder. It’s a triumvirate of tough blows that almost inevitable will result in the Patriots best weapon, their offense, being seriously hampered in 2013.Unless of course Bill Belichic can work some miracles.
New England has been getting by with an average defense and they’ll continue to do so. There are some signs of the problem being addressed. Aqib Talib inked a deal and he’s proven to be a cornerstone. A new safety should find the field in Adrian Wilson, who comes from a solid career in Arizona. The NFL draft yielded a couple of players who could help with the pass rush and give some aid to an ailing secondary. If the Patriots have anything even approaching their regular offense they don’t need much defense.
Bottom line? The New England Patriots still have to be considered the favorites in the AFC East until they’re proven not to be. Miami is improving by leaps and bounds and Buffalo is going to be a better team, maybe not this season but in the future. New England needs to win and win now if Brady and Belichic want to add to their already impressive resumes.
Note: Tim Tebow, if he makes the roster, will probably not be a factor in the Patriots success in 2013.Eric Drouant