The New England Patriots made it to the AFC championship. They are primed to finish with the best record in the NFL although that and last year’s finish will not satisfy them.
The New England Patriots were thought to be on the decline before last season started. While Tom Brady saw his numbers regress, the Patriots continued their winning ways and made it to the AFC championship against the odds.
They finished with a 12-4 record while winning their fifth consecutive AFC East title, so there is a strong possibility that the Patriots will finish with the best record in the NFL.
Here are five reasons why they will do so.
5. Healthy returning starters
The Patriots had to deal with multiple injuries last season. These injured players included tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Shane Vereen, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, linebacker Jerod Mayo and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Aqib Talib was also injured in the beginning of the AFC Championship, which likely contributed to Peyton Manning throwing for 400 yards. With all of these players returning healthy, the Patriots are primed to have a better record than 12-4.
4. Improved defense
Defensive tackle Dominique Easley was drafted in the first round. While the former Florida Gator has injury concerns due to a torn ACL, he was considered a top-15 talent, and the Patriots needed an upgrade on their defensive line. They also brought in help at cornerback after losing Talib to the Broncos. Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner will undoubtedly boost the pass defense. While Browner has to serve a four-game suspension to start the season, they still have capable corners such as Logan Ryan and Kyle Arrington. There are also rising players such as outside linebacker Jamie Collins.