Thankfully the start of the regular season is right around the corner. However, that great news comes with some annoying residue. ESPN predictions.
Most are picking the Patriots to have a down year in the 2013 season. The reason being that they have a lot of unknown names on offense, their defense is still a question mark and Brady is getting older every year.
Of course, we've seen the Patriot prove these predictions wrong before. Will this year be different?
ESPN, for one, doesn't have much faith in the Patriots new youth movement to handle the pressures on the road.
Wow, ESPN predicts #Patriots 1-7 on the road. RT @vipstrippers: @micha2334 we lose every game on road except Buffalo pic.twitter.com/VmhfhjOonb
— Andy Hart (@JumboHart) August 21, 2013
For those that can't squint or zoom in, the Patriots play at Buffalo, Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York Jets, Carolina, Houston, Miami and Baltimore.
There are some good teams in there, and some not so good teams. Obviously seeing the Patriots with a 1-7 road record is a bit shocking, but not exactly unheard of. In the 2009 season the Patriots also only won a single road game. That's not that long ago. (Actually they were 2-6 but one of those two wins was in London, technically a road game but not really).
It's really not that crazy to envision this young team with lots of new pieces on offense struggling on an opposing field - with the crowd noise, home field calls, etc. etc. Still, 1-7? For one, the Patriots losing to the Jets and Panthers seems a little bit absurd. Even if the team has maybe taken a step back, they are still superior to both. Neither boasts an incredibly strong home field advantage either.
That said, I could very well see the Patriots losing the rest of the games. Atlanta is great at home and Cincinnati looks like one of the best teams in the AFC. Miami is a place where Brady has struggled at times for whatever reason and if they've improved a bit since last year, they could have a shot. Baltimore is a team that always gives the Patriots fits and they'll have a loud and fired up crowd. Houston? The Patriots dominated them last year but this is a whole new season, whole new team. The Texans are still a good and well balanced team, if they get anything more from Matt Schaub, the Patriots could let that one slip away.
So, I guess I could see something close to that happening, but I certainly wouldn't predict it. You never want to count this Patriots team, or Tom Brady in particular, out.
Either way, predictions are mostly silly and pointless. We have no idea until September whether these teams will be as good as advertised or not. What do you make of ESPN's predictions?