Previews for every AFC team
Scouts Inc. breaks down the game plans for every team in the AFC
AFC previews | NFC previews | Joyner's V-factors
2010 Record: 14-2
2011 Projected Record: 12-4
Last year the Pats made a radical midseason switch from a multi-WR, spread offense to a two-TE system with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Using a variety of personnel packages, motion and short passes, the Patriots are a matchup nightmare for base defenses.
Another big offensive change came in the running game -- as in, the Patriots actually ran the ball. The combo of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead at RB should provide better playcalling balance than New England has seen in years.
The Pats still see themselves as a base 3-4, but because their OLBs struggle as rushers, they'll use four-man fronts too. The DBs grew up last year, helping the D pick off 25 passes, led by Devin McCourty's seven.
With Wilfork, Haynesworth and Ellis up front and Jerod Mayo roaming at ILB, the run defense should be excellent. And because of the high-octane O, the Pats won't have to defend the run for four quarters.
2010 Record: 11-5
2011 Projected Record: 10-6
In Year 2, Sanchez made better throws to move the chains and threw more TDs than as a rookie. Now he has to keep progressing as the Jets expand their playbook. He'd be wise to focus more on TE Dustin Keller, whose athleticism makes him a major mismatch in the red zone.
Ryan wants to pound the ball behind a big offensive line and fullback. It would help if powerful, deceptively quick Shonn Greene finally takes the lead RB role and stops fumbling. Losing Brad Smith hurts their Wildcat package.
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