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NFL SEASON PREVIEW: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Tue, 16 Aug 2011 10:33 AM EDT


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

2010 Statistics:
SU Record: 14-3
ATS Record: 10-6-1
Over/Under: 14-3
Points Scored: 32.4 PPG (1st in NFL)
Points Allowed: 19.6 PPG (8th in NFL)

2011 Odds:
Odds to Win AFC East: 10/17
Odds to Win AFC Championship: 5/2
Odds to Win Super Bowl XLVI: 6/1
Regular Season Wins Over/Under: 11.5

2011 Preview:
Offense:
Obviously, everything the Patriots do on offense is based on and off of Tom Brady, but they won’t hesitate to give a heavy dose of their power running game. They have an underrated run-blocking line and added another slashing runner in second-round pick Shane Vereen and a pure power runner in third-rounder Stevan Ridley. New England ran it on 46% of their offensive snaps last year, the eighth-highest percentage in the NFL. It’s all set up by Brady and their spread passing game. They went underneath more after the departure of Randy Moss, using Wes Welker and their stable of tight ends on short and intermediate routes. With Brady under center, they’re one of the few teams capable of consistently sustaining long drives, and the addition of WR Chad Ochocinco gives him another reliable target. NFL spreads.

Defense:
Their overall run defense is strong, but the Patriots biggest offseason question mark was finding a consistent pass rush. They traded for massive DL Albert Haynesworth to man the left side of the 3-4 front, and also grabbed three veteran DEs that have all had their share of career sacks — Shaun Ellis (72.5), Andre Carter (66) and Mark Anderson (25.5). Aside from star CB Devin McCourty, their secondary is weak (30th in NFL in pass defense), but the linebacking corps is improving with the NFL’s leading tackler ILB Jerod Mayo leading the unit. NFL betting lines.

Key Offseason Moves
ADDITIONS
WR Chad Ochocinco (from Bengals)
DT Albert Haynesworth (from Redskins)
DE Shaun Ellis (from Jets)
DE/LB Andre Carter (from Redskins)
DE Mark Anderson (from Texans)
LB Niko Koutouvides (from Buccaneeers)

SUBTRACTIONS
TE Alge Crumpler (released)
T Nick Kaczur (released)
G Stephen Neal (retired)
G Quinn Ojinnaka (Rams)
DE Ty Warren (Broncos)
LB Tully Banta-Cain (released)
S Jarrad Page (Eagles)
PK Shayne Graham (released)

2011 Schedule:
2011 Schedule Strength: 20.50 (14th toughest in NFL)
Week 1 – at Miami
Week 2 – San Diego
Week 3 – at Buffalo
Week 4 – at Oakland
Week 5 – New York Jets
Week 6 – Dallas
Week 7 – BYE WEEK
Week 8 – at Pittsburgh
Week 9 – New York Giants
Week 10 – at New York Jets
Week 11 – Kansas City
Week 12 – at Philadelphia
Week 13 – Indianapolis
Week 14 – at Washington
Week 15 – at Denver
Week 16 – Miami
Week 17 – Buffalo

StatFox Take: The Patriots have a rather easy start to the season before their Week 7 bye, with only one 2010 playoff team looming (Jets) in those first six games. After the bye, they play three of the best teams in the NFL on the road during a five-week stretch (Steelers, Jets and Eagles), but conclude the season with four games against teams with a combined 21-43 (.328) record from last year. The Patriots have averaged more than 12 wins per season since 2005, and should be able to retain this rate with at least a dozen victories in 2011. NFL lines.
Prediction: OVER 11.5 wins (-105).

All NFL Previews

AFC East
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets – Tuesday, August 16

AFC North
Baltimore Ravens – Wednesday, August 17
Cincinnati Bengals – Wednesday, August 17
Cleveland Browns – Thursday, August 18
Pittsburgh Steelers – Thursday, August 18

AFC South
Houston Texans – Friday, August 19
Indianapolis Colts – Friday, August 19
Jacksonville Jaguars – Monday, August 22
Tennessee Titans – Monday, August 22

AFC West
Denver Broncos – Tuesday, August 23
Kansas City Chiefs – Tuesday, August 23
Jacksonville Jaguars – Wednesday, August 24
Tennessee Titans – Wednesday, August 24

NFC East
Dallas Cowboys – Thursday, August 25
New York Giants – Thursday, August 25
Philadelphia Eagles – Friday, August 26
Washington Redskins – Friday, August 26

NFC North
Chicago Bears – Monday, August 29
Detroit Lions – Monday, August 29
Green Bay Packers – Tuesday, August 30
Minnesota Vikings – Tuesday, August 30

NFC South
Atlanta Falcons – Wednesday, August 31
Carolina Panthers – Wednesday, August 31
New Orleans Saints – Thursday, September 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Thursday, September 1

NFC West
Arizona Cardinals – Friday, September 2
San Francisco 49ers – Friday, September 2
Seattle Seahawks – Monday, September 5
St. Louis Rams – Monday, September 5


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