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NFL Preview: AFC East

scottb
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Reasons to be Cautious:

Receiving Options – I like Amendola, Edelman and the potential of Thompkins, but they don’t make up for Welker and Hernandez. While Brady makes his receivers, make no mistake about it, he is going to have some growing pains in 2013. The Patriots lost 4 of their top 5 receivers from 2012 (Welker, Loyd, Hernandez, Woodhead) and the only player that remains (Gronk), may not start the season because of offseason surgeries.

Rob Gronkowski – Their best weapons has had 4 surgeries on his forearm and 5 surgeries in the past year. If he isn’t healthy, that is big trouble for this offense.

Danny Amendola – People like to compare him to Wes Welker because he is small and white – that is about where the comparison should end. In his 6 years in NE, Welker averaged 112 catches per year, 1,243 yards, 6.17 TDs and 15.5 games. Speaking of injuries, Amendola has played 16 games once. In 4 years in the league, Amendola has averaged only 10.5 games per year, has played 16 games just once and has never surpassed 85 catches nor 700 yards. For his career, Amendola has 7 TDs, 196 catches and 1,726 yards….his career numbers are in line with Welkers yearly averages! If he stays healthy, I think Amendola could have a big year…IF he can stay healthy.

Defense – Despite the impressive turnover numbers, this was a poor defense in 2012. 25th overall and 29th against the pass. This defense has talent (Wilfolk, Kelly, Jones, Mayo, Spikes, Hightower, Talib, Dennard, etc), they just need to play to their talent level.

Overall:

This is likely Belichick and Brady’s worst offensive team in their NE tenure. Lucky for them, they play in a weak division and an extremely weak AFC in 2013. I think they win the division easily, but this is not a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

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