In the summer, I looked over the New England Patriots schedule and made my predictions. And I didn't do too badly. Through the first half of the year, I had us at 6-2 after losses at the Baltimore Ravens and the Seattle Seahawks (can you blame me for not seeing the Arizona Cardinals loss coming?) So, I'll look over my predictions for the second half of the season, and make new predictions based on what we've seen this season.
Have a look at my predictions for the second half in full here.
Week 10 - vs Buffalo: After destroying the Bills (in the second half) in week 4, it's time for the rematch. And I think it'll be a similar story to the first clash. Stopping the run and making Ryan Fitzpatrick throw, and on offense, throwing in a lot of draw plays and torching the secondary.
Preseason Score: BUF 17 - 31 NE | New Prediction: BUF 24 - 38 NE
Week 11 - vs Indianapolis: Looking at this in preseason, I had no idea about how good Andrew Luck would be, and would have a clearer indication by this stage. He's good. Very good. The Colts should be going into this game at 6-3 and off a long week. This could be interesting. But the Colts have shown they cannot defend the run, and Stevan Ridley should have a big day, and Tom Brady should outduel the rookie.
Preseason Score: IND 20 - 35 NE | New Prediction: IND 21 - 42 NE
Week 12 - @ NY Jets: I had the game at Foxboro as a blowout. I was wrong. And in this Prime Time Thanksgiving encounter, the Jets will fancy their chances to get a win over the Patriots. Even though no one prepares for the Pats better than Rex Ryan, I think once again Tom Brady's class will show through, and we'll get our second sweep of an AFC East rival.
Preseason Score: NE 27 - 17 NYJ | New Prediction: NE 27 - 20 NYJ
Week 13 - @ Miami: I was happy with my prediction that Ryan Tannehill would be the starter going into this one, and I'm surprised this game is as important as it is. Going into week 10, the Dolphins are just a game behind New England. But as I've been saying, if you're running back is your main weapon, you're not beating the Patriots. So I still have the Patriots winning this, and it should secure the division.
Preseason Score: NE 31 - 21 MIA | New Prediction: NE 34 - 24 MIA
Week 14 - vs Houston: A huge AFC match up. Preseason, I had the Patriots winning this one. However, I'm not so sure now. Arian Foster might be the exception that proves the rule on my running back rule. With weapons like Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels in the receiving game, and the defense has still been superb without DeMeco Ryans and Mario Willams, mainly thanks to J.J. Watt, and I can see the Pats losing this one now. But the primetime fans are going to get a great game.
Preseason Score: HOU 20 - 24 NE | New Prediction: HOU 35 - 27 NE
Week 15 - vs San Francisco: Preseason, I had this as our only second half loss of the season. And I can still see the loss coming here as well. Alex Smith has the game management ability to eat the clock while putting up points, and of course this defense can stop the running game, and the Patriots don't look good when they become one dimensional. This will be the second 2 game loss streak of the year for New England.
Preseason Score: SF 24 - 17 NE | New Prediction: SF 27 - 24 NE
Week 16 - @ Jacksonville: After a two game loss streak at home, a nice easy trip to the Jaguars to recover. A chance for Brady to get some confidence back by tearing a defense to pieces. Not much more to say here. Jacksonville stink, the Patriots are good. Easy win.
Preseason Score: NE 31 - 14 JAX | New Prediction: NE 38 - 10 JAX
Week 17 - vs MIA: Another simple win for the Patriots. Even if Miami are competing for wildcard placement in this last game, don't expect Bill Belichick to take this one lightly. The Patriots might be playign in Wildcard Weekend this season, so they'll look to get some momentum going into that game with a demolition of a division foe.
Preseason Score: MIA 17 - 28 NE | New Prediction: MIA 20 - 42 NE
So, I predict the Patriots will go 6-2 in the second half of 2012, after two tough home losses to elite teams. Where will 11-5 leave the Patriots? I'm hopeful for second seed, but there are a lot of 5-3 AFC contenders. It might be a case of having the tie-breaker over the Denver Broncos. As for in the play-offs? I'm always optimistic. Heck, with Tom Brady, you've got a shot in the playoffs.
How do you think the Patriots will get on in the second half? Let me know on twitter @brendanannely, or in the comments here!