Last year: see above.
But hey, they managed to get to 12-4 and the AFC Championship game anyway. Thanks a lot, rest of the AFC East!
Acquisitions: Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Jimmy Garoppolo, Will Smith
Departures: Steve Gregory, LeGarrette Blount, Adrian Wilson (Hey, remember when the Pats signed Adrian Wilson? Whoops!)
Already critical injury: Is Gronk hurt yet? No? Check back in an hour.
Vegas 2014 Win Total Over/Under: 11 wins
Verdict: I tend to think they’ll win exactly 11 games, but because of the division, I’ll say over.
Five things Tom Brady knows better than his centers’ butt:
— Losing to Eli Manning in the Super Bowl
Fan forecast by Johnny Sugar:
There was a point last season where E.J. Manuel and Ryan Tannehill had higher passer ratings than Tom Brady. No, it didn’t finish that way, and sure, you can point out that passer rating isn’t a very good indicator of ability. But the fact still remains that for the first half of last season, Tom Brady fucking sucked. The Pats patched together enough wins that it never became that big of a deal, and then Dreamboat looked a bit more like himself in the second half, but it’s hard not to think a little bit about that first half and wonder if the moment the rest of you have all been waiting for — where Brady finally loses it — is coming soon.
Of course, to be fair to him, he played with a fucking awful receiving corp last year. I had blocked out the memory of how bad Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins were in that Week 2 game against the Jets until just now. I’ll probably be having nightmares tonight thanks to this. Amendola got hurt a lot, and even when he was healthy he was a bit of a disappointment. Edelman was the Pats’ best receiver last year, but I have no idea if he’s actually all that good, or if Brady just kept throwing to him because of how shitty everyone else was. I’m leaning towards the ladder. The knock on Welker for years was that he was nowhere as good as his numbers indicated, and that he just fit well into a dynamic offense. That was and is true – he does the same thing now in Denver – but it feels even more true with Edelman. He might be more like Mike Furrey than Pats fans want to admit. And yes, I realize everyone who I just mentioned is white. I’m sure PFTC and Tawmmy from Quinzee will have more to say about that later on.
Onto the big move off the offseason: we got Revis! I’m trying to greet this signing with measured optimism, but it’s really fucking hard. Like, I know he’s not the player he was from 2009-11, and while he will be really good for us, he won’t be as dominant as he was during those peak seasons with the Jets. But fuck it, I’m thrilled about this. I got so fucking sick of Revis Island during those years, and seeing Rex Ryan’s post-game cocky shit-eating grin every time the Jets beat the Pats, and five months after the fact, I’m still euphoric that he’s on our side. Plus, he’s still gonna be pretty awesome, even if he has lost a little bit, and since the Tampa Bay Schianos had no fucking clue what do with him, he should be better than he was last year. Also, we quietly got Brandon Browner and no one noticed because they were too busy being pissed off that we got Revis. I think he’ll be pretty good, too.
Basically, this Pats team looks a lot better than last year’s team did, but last year’s team got away with murder, so it probably won’t be reflected in the win total. The Pats could win fewer games despite a considerably better roster because this might finally be the year luck bites them in the ass (well, other than 2008). Still, thanks to a crappy division and a crappy conference, it seems pretty damn likely that the Pats are winning the division again. Unless either the Colts or Bengals make a huge leap, it feels like the AFC is going to be a coin-toss between the Pats and the Broncos to see who gets slaughtered in the Super Bowl. But hey, at least it’ll be fun getting there.