2013 New England Patriots Predictions and NFL Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 7/16/2013
The New England Patriots have won three Super Bowl titles since 2000, but the last was in 2004. Bill Belichick’s team has been very close on multiple occasions since then, but they haven’t quite been able to finish the deal. The Patriots went 12-4 and coasted to another AFC East division crown last year, but they lost 28-13 in the AFC Championship Game to the Baltimore Ravens.
How good have the Patriots been in the past decade? This was the team’s 10th straight season with at least 10 wins. Obviously, a 12-4 season and a trip to the AFC Championship Game is a very successful season, but expectations are extremely high in New England. If this team doesn’t win the Super Bowl, it is considered a disappointment.
There were plenty of things to love about last season’s Patriots team. New England finished first in the NFL in turnover margin at an amazing +25. That is almost unheard of, and that statistic alone helped the team to several wins last season. The Patriots picked up 444 first downs during the 2012 season, which is the most all-time in the NFL.
New England definitely has some problems to face heading into the 2013 season. Aaron Hernandez is no longer with the team after being charged with murder in June. Hernandez caught 130 passes for the Patriots in the past two seasons, and he was part of an amazing tight end combination. Rob Gronkowksi is a red zone pass catching machine when he plays, but he might not be ready for the season. The Patriots will need Gronkowski more than ever now, so he’ll need to get back to 100 percent as soon as possible.
Let’s take a look at what the Patriots team looks like heading into the 2013 season.
New England’s offense has been a well-oiled machine for the last few years. The Patriots put up more than 500 points for the third consecutive year in 2012. In fact, their 557 points were the third most points scored in NFL history. Belichick’s team seems to be able to pile up the points at will, but they will have a bit of a different look this year. Not only is Hernandez gone from the passing game, but Wes Welker is a huge loss for this offense.
Tom Brady will be under center again this year for the Patriots, and that makes them set at this position as long as he stays healthy. Brady will turn 36 just before the start of the season, so he might not have too many more elite years in him, but he hasn’t shown signs of slowing down quite yet. There should be no questions about Brady’s ability to get the job done; the only question mark is whether the supporting cast will be good enough.
Danny Amendola was a nice pickup if he can stay healthy. Amendola is a good route runner, but he has missed 22 of his team’s last 64 games with an injury. Veterans Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones were signed to play wide receiver as well. Aaron Dobson was drafted out of Marshall to step in at wide receiver, and he should get playing time right away. One thing that stands out; none of these guys have ever played in a regular season game with Tom Brady.
Stevan Ridley helped the Patriots ground game improve last year, and he will likely be counted on more in 2013. Brady doesn’t have the same weapons he had last year on the outside, and the Patriots will need to be able to run the football more to be successful. The Patriots offensive line is one of the best in football, and that has been a crucial part of the team’s offensive success in the past few seasons.
New England ranked ninth in total defense last year, but they were 29th in the league against the pass. Resigning Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington gives the team some continuity in the secondary. The team hopes Adrian Wilson will give them a hard-hitting presence at the safety spot that they have missed the last couple seasons. Alfonzo Dennard is being counted on to make a difference in his rookie season at the cornerback spot.
New England used five of its seven draft picks on defensive players, so there is little doubt they know that this is the side of the ball that needs the most work. This unit has slowly gotten better over the last few years, and this year’s defense looks even better than the 2012 version. Tommy Kelly should help give a strong push up front.
Linebacker is a real area of strength for the Patriots. Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower, and Brandon Spikes are all capable of big things. Jamie Collins was a nice second-round pick this year as well; don’t be surprised if he contributes right away.
2013 New England Patriots Schedule Analysis
The Patriots kick off the season in Buffalo and end the season with Buffalo at home. For a first-place schedule, the Patriots schedule isn’t all that tough.
The toughest portion of the schedule comes from late September through Nov. 3 when the team will play at Atlanta and Cincinnati and then at home against New Orleans and Pittsburgh. New England’s Sunday night trip to Baltimore on Dec.22 will be a huge rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game.
Overall, the schedule isn’t necessarily an easy one, but it isn’t overwhelmingly difficult either.
2013 New England Patriots Futures Odds
Bovada lists the Patriots at -400 to win the AFC East. No one has been able to stick with the Patriots in this division of late, and oddsmakers don’t expect that to change this year. WagerWeb lists the Patriots as third favorite to win the Super Bowl at +650. WagerWeb has the Patriots listed at +275 to win the AFC Championship.
BetOnline has the Patriots win total set at “over/under” 11 wins in 2013. The under is currently priced at -140.
2013 New England Patriots Predictions
The Patriots have had arguably the best offense in football the last few years, but the defense has been susceptible. The defense has definitely gotten better, but the offense has taken some steps backward in the offseason. It’s hard to imagine the Patriots equaling last year’s ridiculous offensive statistics. This offense will be one of the best, but they are likely to be a notch below last year’s unit.
Can the Patriots continue to force turnovers at such a high rate? If they do, they’ll be a very tough team to beat again. However, it’s hard to predict that a team would finish +25 in the turnover margin for a second straight year.
I don’t see any value taking the Patriots to win the AFC Championship or the Super Bowl, because I believe there are more complete teams in the league. Look for New England to finish the season with 10 or 11 regular season wins.
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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