By TENZIN DORJEE
Throughout the season, the New England Patriots have faced many setbacks, but they persevered due to their determination and the rookies that stepped up to fill in the roles left empty by the unfortunate injured. The Patriots played hard each game and rightfully earned their current 7-2 record.
So far, even while the record may beg to differ, this season for the Patriots has a been an ugly, nitty-gritty one. Tom Brady lost 5 of his best receivers: Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Danny Woodhead; and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, with only Gronkowski able to return from his injury. Welker went to the Denver Broncos, Lloyd was released, and Woodhead went to the San Diego Chargers. Gronkowski was missing to attend a back surgery, but seems to have made a recovery, while unfortunately Hernandez isn’t so lucky as he was released following his several legal troubles. This lead to a weakening of the Patriots’ offence with the loss of these key playmakers, as the Patriots depend most on their pass plays.
The Patriots’ defence isn’t looking too good either, as both veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo are in the injured reserve for the rest of the season. Both players were injured during their game on September 29 against the Atlanta Falcons, which the Patriots fortunately won, 30-23. D-Lineman Wilfork tore his Achilles’ tendon whilst attempting to get by the Falcons’ offensive guard, Justin Blalock. Mayo is out for the season because his pectoral muscle was regrettably torn. Rookie defensive tackles Chris Jones and Joe Vallano will have to step up for the loss of Wilfork. Mayo was a very key player in the defence, making the loss of him hard on the Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. Brandon Spikes is currently the best candidate to help ease the loss of Mayo. Even with these losses, the team perseveres and continues to step up.
After the game against the Carolina Panthers on November 18, the Patriots face the Denver Broncos. With quarterback Peyton Manning, wide reciever Welker, linebacker Von Miller, and cornerback Champ Bailey, the chances for a Patriots win don’t seem all too likely. The game after the Broncos, versus the Houston Texans though, may hold better favor for the Patriots, as during the last matchup between the the Texans and Patriots, quarterback Matt Schaub couldn’t seem to be able to handle the defence of the Patriots. Next up, against the Cleveland Browns, will hopefully be a win as well, since the Browns have veteran linebacker Paul Kruger, their quarterback, Brandon Weeden, is still a fairly recent addition, which is at expense of the Browns. Following the Browns are the Miami Dolphins, which makes this the second game between the two teams in this season. The Patriots beat the Dolphins last time in a close match 27-17, so hopefully they’ll be able to pull up another win against the Florida team. Afterwards, the Pats will face the Joe Flacco-led Baltimore Ravens in a revenge match for last season as they lost to the Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship by a single point, as the score was 31-30. Though, if history repeats itself, the Patriots are looking at another unsightly loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The last matchup is to be against the Buffalo Bill, whom the Pats have almost always beat. If history holds true, this will lead to an easy win for the Patriots. Thus, the Patriots’ record could stand at a strong 12-4. Going by the proposed record, the New England team has a good chance at capturing a Super Bowl win.
The losses of several key players in both the offence and the defence have hurt the team significantly, but as the record shows, the team has done well this season, as the team is determined and rookies are filling in the spots of their teammates skillfully. So far, with the only losses being close games to the Cincinnati Bengals an the New York Jets, the Patriots are looking pretty decent this season. If the players can continue working as hard as they have and doing what is necessary for the team’s benefit, then they have a good chance at making it big this season.