New England Patriots’ 2013-2014 Season
Published: Sunday, September 22, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 22, 2013 16:09
For the past five years, the New England Patriots have stayed fairly consistent in their personnel and style of play. This season, however, you can throw most of what we have seen recently out the window. Personnel wise, the team has changed drastically with no starting receivers from last season returning, as a result, the style of play has been altered as well. Yet, despite these deviations the results will not change and we will see yet another AFC East champion team head to the playoffs with high aspirations.
The question then becomes, how can the Patriots, with a receiving corps consisting of rookies, a formerly untested veteran in Julian Edelman, and an injury prone, but talented, Danny Amendola put points on the board and win games? Simply put, the Patriots cannot and will not rely on their passing game like they have in the past.
As long as Stevan Ridley can hold onto the ball, he will be the workhorse in the Patriots’ offense, amassing plenty of carries while taking the pressure of Tom Brady and company. Ridley’s ability to draw the attention of the defense will also open up play-action which is where Brady will be able
to do most of his damage. It is also important to note that the passing game, through play-action or not, is very much a work in progress. Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets featured out-of-sync and drop prone receivers and a livid Tom Brady. You can mark that down as the low point of the season for
Brady and his new cast of re
ceivers. As the season progresses,
the receivers will become more accustomed to the option routes as Brady continues to build rapport with them.
By the second half of the season, the offense will be completely revamped with a dangerous running game and a
more confident set of receiving
options—which will eventually s
see the return of Danny Amen
dola, Rob Gronkowski, and ShanVereen—for Brady to throw the
Yet, what has already and will continue to win games for the Patriots is the defense. Ever since Super Bowl XXXIX, the Patriots defense has been untrustworthy to say the least. This season will be different.
With most of the starting defense from last season returning and a few more key pieces entering the fold, the Patriots defense has already shown what they are capable of. In two close wins, it was the defense that came up with the big plays to ensure victory.
So far, the Patriots have already forced four fumbles, intercepted three passes, pressured opposing quarterbacks, and allowed just four touchdowns. What this tells us is that the defense has made the leap from mediocre to an actual force to be reckoned with.
They may not end up being one of the best defenses in terms of yards allowed, but they will certainly win several games this season by making big plays when necessary, just as they have done in the first two games.
What we are left with is a team with a dangerous running game, an improving passing game, and a potentially dominant defense. This has not been the blueprint we have become accustomed to in the past. But, if you can recall, it is nearly the same exact formula that won the Patriots three Super Bowls from 2002 to 2006. Does that guarantee that they will win it all this year? Absolutely not, but they certainly have the potential to surprise a lot of people and make a serious run for that elusive fourth ring.