I'm not a Pats fan, but I do feel for their fans. This really sucks having both the TE's out. I can't imagine them keeping Hernandez given what's going on, though Gronk could theoretically be back in time to make an impact. I still say they'll have a good season, maybe not 13-3, but strong.
Also: Tim Tebow as a TE? If ever there was a time, it's now.
I'd hate to be a stickler for facts, but the Patriots record was 12-4 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Ne...atriots_season). I think losing Welker will hurt the Patriots more than anything. Hernandez is probably going to jail for a long time, so that will hurt the Patriots. Gronk will probably be back mid season, so his injury won't be that bad. The Patriots will probably be 11-5.
I think you're right @stokified: 11-5 sounds about right. I think that Denver/NE game is going to be so, so important this year. Too early for me to make predictions, but I think the Broncos have a very good chance of going all the way this season.
I think they won't be as good as last year. But due to an extremely weak division they should be able to pull it out with a 9 or 10 win season. I'd say 10-6 as the loss of Welker and Hernandez are going to hurt them tremendously and losing Gronk for at least half the season is going to be tough to overcome.
i feel for the patriots with this off the field drama with hernandez. i am still in shock over it all. i agree that losing welker was huge too. i say they get 10 wins and make it to the afc championship regardless. Belichick and Brady will find a way to make that happen
C_Money, you hit the nail right on the head with the Tom and Bill focus. Sure the Pats lost many great offensive superstars (more than I'm willing to admit to myself) but Brady and Belichick will find a way, they always do. Look at how NE did without Brady that one season. Even without their star player they went 11-5. Belichick will pull out his Jedi mind tricks and make it happen. I'm not even going to get into Tebow (I itch just typing his name) but in their ridiculously weak division, it would take a series of major fails for the Patriots to lose the division title and I just don't see that happening. It's just not the Patriot Way.
LOL, the Patriot way? I can respect the success New England has had recently but that Patriot Way nonsense is out the window now. The Pats are kind of screwed and being one of the more disliked teams in the league, them having a bad season (with anything less than 10-12 wins being bad on their scale) might not be a bad thing. It's time for another team to get a shot in the spotlight, at least on the field anyway. They've already cornered the market in crime news.
Sigh. I should preface this statement by declaring my undying love for the Patriots (since before it was cool, for the record). Words cannot describe how unfortunate this off-season has been for the team. My heart shattered into a million pieces when we lost Welker. I nearly had to be committed when the Tebow news came down from the heavens. And Hernandez, to see someone that young with so much talent and so much potential to make those unfortunate choices, it's really awful.
I want to believe that Arthur is right, that the Belichick-Brady combination will figure something out but I've never been more nervous about the future of the team as I am now. Brady is not getting any younger and while he's still very much one of the best in the league, he does not have the years left to wait for the team to rebuild. Heal quick, Gronk, you may be our only hope.