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PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 2: New England Patriots

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Bill Belichick may prize secrecy, but you didn’t need a background in espionage to suss out the plan in New England this offseason.

When the Patriots needed a play in the Super Bowl, though, the defense couldn’t come up with one and had to watch Eli Manning celebrate at their expense for the second time in the last five years. It was a fitting end to a year that was marked by the offense overcoming the defense too often to be sustainable.

Fixing a defense that was being held together by tape and spit by the end of last season was what New England knew it needed to do and they weren’t shy about making moves in hopes of accomplishing that goal. They let some players go, signed several others and drafted six defenders during a busy offseason.

The results of that makeover will probably determine how far the Patriots go this season since they went to the Super Bowl last year while turning over rocks to find cornerbacks. With Tom Brady at the helm of this offense, it doesn’t need to be a great unit for the Patriots to challenge for the AFC title again this year.

If it’s anywhere close, though, the Patriots will be heavy favorites.

Strengths.

How many times did you hear about a team trying to draft or develop a Rob Gronkowski-style tight end this offseason? Gronkowski’s remarkable 2011 season did more than help the Patriots to the Super Bowl, it redefined the tight end position and redefined the way defenses are built in an effort to stop this new style of tight end from dominating every Sunday. When you throw in Aaron Hernandez, the Patriots present matchup problems that few defenses are able to slow down.

Wes Welker might not have gotten the contract he wanted this offseason and this might be his final go-round with the Patriots as a result, but it should be a productive year all the same. With better options on the outside and the Gronk/Hernandez tandem in full bloom, Welker’s going to have plenty of room to make noise in the slot.

It helps when Brady is the guy delivering the passes to Welker, Gronkowski and Hernandez, of course. All those mismatches aren’t worth much without a quarterback who can put the ball in the right place at the right time. Brady put the ball in the right place at the right time often enough to blow out scoreboards last season and there’s no reason to expect things to change this time around.

The one spot on defense that the Patriots didn’t need to address was the one filled by Vince Wilfork on the defensive line. Even as the unit around him reached for help anywhere they could find it, Wilfork thrived in the middle of the line and he could reach an even higher level this season with more help around him.

Weaknesses.

The Patriots let Mark Anderson go to Buffalo and they haven’t re-signed Andre Carter, which means that they are without each of their top two pass rushers from last season. The pass rush wasn’t always dangerous enough to overcome secondary problems last season, which puts a lot of pressure on new faces Jonathan Fanene, Trevor Scott, first-round pick Chandler Jones and third-round pick Jake Bequette to provide heat on quarterbacks this season. There’s talent there, but the Pats still need to prove it on the field.

The Patriots feel that they have addressed those secondary problems thanks to the return of cornerback Ras-I Dowling from injury and the addition of safeties Steve Gregory and Tavon Wilson. Figuring out the right mix of players, which will also include Kyle Arrington, Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty, will be a crucial part of camp because the Pats might not be able to thrive with so much weakness on the back end for another season.

If everyone’s healthy, the offensive line should be in decent shape. Left guard Logan Mankins and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer are both starting training camp on the PUP list, though, and right guard Brian Waters isn’t a spring chicken. Nate Solder will be taking over the left tackle position, adding another question to a line that didn’t do a good enough job of protecting Tom Brady in the Super Bowl loss.

Changes.

Add first-round linebacker Dont’a Hightower to the list of new faces on the defensive side of the ball. He should take over at strongside linebacker with Rob Ninkovich seeing some time at defensive end this season.

The Patriots’ offense was plenty good without getting much from wide receivers on the outside, with Chad Ochocinco standing out as a particular disappointment. Brandon Lloyd is now in that role and the offseason reports were glowing about his fit in an offense run by Josh McDaniels. McDaniels and Lloyd made good things happen in Denver and St. Louis, which led Lloyd to New England for McDaniels’ second go-round as Bill Belichick’s offensive coordinator.

Jabar Gaffney and Donte’ Stallworth also signed at receiver, which will make for some spirited competition for spots come camp. The backfield shuffle saw BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk leave with Joseph Addai and fullbacks Tony Fiametta and Spencer Larsen joining the team.

Matt Light’s retirement opened left tackle for Solder and the team added former second overall pick Robert Gallery to provide depth on the offensive line.

Camp Battles.

Patriots camp isn’t going to be about fighting for starting jobs as much as it is going to be about determing the pecking order. The defensive line and secondary have been outlined above, but there are issues to sort out on the offensive side as well.

The departure of Green-Ellis seems to open the door for second-year running back Stevan Ridley to take on a featured role in the offense. Running backs in the Belichick era have been renters, though, and the presence of Addai, Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead (as well as Hernandez’s occasional visit to the backfield) means that there’s still much to be decided on this front.

Wide receiver will also be a busy area. Welker and Lloyd are pretty much locked into their roles, leaving Gaffney, Stallworth, Deion Branch and Julian Edelman to battle for snaps at the other spots in the rotation.

Prospects.

It might be a new year, but it is pretty much the same old outlook for the Patriots.

The Dolphins are building a new identity, the Jets seem to have taken a step backward and the Bills are trying to turn a big offseason into regular season success. That leaves the Patriots as a heavy favorite in the AFC East once again and it is hard to come up with a preseason argument that doesn’t have them winning both the division and a bye.

Winning the division isn’t the ultimate goal, though. It’s all about the Super Bowl in New England.

If the defense is again unable to come up with key stops in big moments – remember how close the Ravens came to winning and/or extending the AFC title game with a big final drive – all of the offense in the world might not be enough to lift the Patriots back to the big game.

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73 Responses to “PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 2: New England Patriots”
  1. packfntk says: Jul 24, 2012 9:45 AM

    About right. The Pats will be beasts again this year. If they still have Brady, they will still contend for SB’s.

  2. patsfanvt says: Jul 24, 2012 9:48 AM

    In order of importance:
    1. Secondary
    2. Pass Rush
    3. Solder
    4. Running Back

  3. cuda1234 says: Jul 24, 2012 9:50 AM

    Could you please post a link to the whole list?

  4. bigbluecrew420 says: Jul 24, 2012 9:51 AM

    I guess Brady is that good that 2nd isn’t that crazy. Their offense is epic.

    GB at # 1 is laughable. Maybe after they finish 3rd in the devision they will get knocked off the pedestal that everyone puts them on. Reminds me of when ATL finished 13-3 a couple years ago and their record didn’t reflect their teams caliber at all.

  5. jamesneuf says: Jul 24, 2012 9:57 AM

    This is funny because the Giants are better than the Patriots.

  6. thegronk87 says: Jul 24, 2012 9:59 AM

    Number 2 is about right.

  7. southpaw2k says: Jul 24, 2012 10:04 AM

    The Patriots will always be contenders as long as they have Brady and Belichick running things. Since the Dolphins are rebuilding, the Jets are falling, and the Bills need another year or two before they become really solid, New England will still own the AFC East and be competitive in the conference.

    That said, I really don’t get why writers still pick them every year as potential Super Bowl winners. Their dynasty ended in 2005, and Brady is 0-2 in the Super Bowl since. They had their day in the limelight, but it sure looks to me like most NFL talking heads are clinging to those days of long ago. The Texans are on the rise, the Ravens will be right there at the end, and I can’t ever fully count out the Steelers (as much as it pains me).

  8. sj39 says: Jul 24, 2012 10:09 AM

    Tom Brady*** will be playing angry this year. Angry because he knows the window for him winning an asterisk free Lombardi is closing quickly (it was actually slammed and nailed shut the day they got caught cheating). Same for Belichick but he always seems to coach angry.

  9. PackersHome.com says: Jul 24, 2012 10:23 AM

    I haven’t followed this list too close, but from the comments, the Packers are #1? I’m a Packers fan (as if the name didn’t give it away) and I think that’s foolish.

    Giants are #1, until knocked off, period.

  10. thegronk87 says: Jul 24, 2012 10:28 AM

    as far as the giants are concerned, last year is last year. the giants lost manningham, whom was a big part of their offense, and have not added anyone of significance in the offseason.

    the patriots, on the other hand, added brandon lloyd, chandler jones, hightower, and a healthy gronk.

  11. tombradysbaby says: Jul 24, 2012 10:33 AM

    They will be contenders as usual. 11-5 or better considering the marshmallow schedule they have this year. The big question is can they develop a legitimate defense by the post season?

    It’s been said time after time that Defenses make championships, and the Pats have proven this sadly to be true. The Giants are a better team in that they are balanced and not a one trick pony like the Pats. They have proven this twice now on the biggest stage in sports.

  12. bjamesa says: Jul 24, 2012 10:43 AM

    The Green Bay Packers are #1 on this list, as they should be. They have the best player in the league and revamped the defensive front. I know Giants fans are angry, but be realistic; the Packers lost two games last season and both were on days that they played uncharacteristically poor. I know this post will get a bunch of “thumbs down” but once the Packers start rolling your favorite teams again your opinions won’t matter. They get to play the Giants, Saints, and 49ers this season. Add the annual meetings with the Bears/Lions to that and they will get a chance to beat every relevent NFC team during the season and shut their dumb fans up at the same time. Hopefully they get to play the Patriots in the SB so they can shutup the most obnoxious fanbase in the league as well…

  13. homelanddefense says: Jul 24, 2012 10:43 AM

    The Mark Anderson thing is getting way overblown. He is a decent palyer, but anyone who watched the Patriots knows that he got ALOT of those sacks in garbage time when the games were not in doubt. Very similar to what Tully Banta-Cain did for them.

    Andre Carter would be a loss if not resigned, but he is still out there.

  14. daysend564 says: Jul 24, 2012 10:55 AM

    Teams that lose the Superbowl don’t fare too well the following season. Too high

  15. bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:10 AM

    Brady is so overrated it’s not even funny as is the Patriot offense. It looks pretty in the regular season when they average 30+ points per game against that soft schedule . But in 2 Super Bowl losses to the Giants, Brady/Pats were shut down both games scoring only 14 and 17 points.

  16. giantsfanlewis says: Jul 24, 2012 11:11 AM

    Thegronk87

    12 games played in, 39 catches 544 yards 4 touchdowns.

    How will any team ever replace that. Those are Mario mabninghams stats last year fool.

    I mean we only replaced Steve smith who had more catches per season then manningham did his entire career but the lose of manningham is the dagger. I mean Cruz and nicks suck completely and whoever gets the slot position will never get open with those guys on the sides.

    Oh wait we drafted a player. One with more upside then manningham had. A higher pick to. I’m sure he will just be a bust like everyone the giants pick… Oh wait they have been one of the best teams at drafting for years now.

    Hmm I think we will be fine without Mario manningham. Best of luck to you pats and your great tight end who couldn’t beat a guy best known for his time on Americas top cheif

  17. jackychilds says: Jul 24, 2012 11:11 AM

    They’ll kick butt in the regular season and the choke in the playoffs like they’ve been doing for several years now.

    No one can deny this, even the most hard-headed of New Englanders can’t.

  18. allisab says: Jul 24, 2012 11:19 AM

    The Giants happened to get hot at the right time last year. Do people forget they finished 9-7 and could have just as easily ended up 3rd in their division? Stop with the “Giants should be #1″ nonsense. Yes, they beat the Pats twice, but the Redskins beat the Giants twice. Does that mean the Skins should be ranked higher? Ridiculous logic.

    The Pats dominated all year and were a dropped pass from winning the SB, and only got better in the offseason. Personally, I think they should be #1, but I’ll take #2.

    (Also, why does everyone rank defense based on passing yards and not, I don’t know, points against?? I can’t be the only one who finds this asinine.)

  19. eckard71 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:20 AM

    So the Pats offense was shut down as you say, but the great Eli against the worst defense in the NFL could only manage 17 and 23 points? The difference is….the pats in the past 11 years have won 3 superbowls and been to 5, the giants….basically lucked into a couple of 9-7 seasons and got hot in the playoffs, they probably will not even make the playoffs next year. Basically though the pats offense was held down in points because they were held off the field, the giants had 40 minutes of possession to the pats 20 minutes, so before you start talking about how bad offenses are, think about that.

  20. formula42 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:21 AM

    They should not be any higher the seven or eight. Probably won’t win more then nine or ten games this season.

  21. eckard71 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:22 AM

    The Anderson thing is flat out funny, the guy did nothing for the past few years he comes here and is put in good situations and he gets a TBC 10 sack season, he will go to the bills will be asked to do more and fail….this happens so many times after a player leaves the patriots its not even funny.

  22. bigbluenationdb says: Jul 24, 2012 11:23 AM

    As a Giants fan I could argue based on last year they shouldn’t be higher then the Giants but I think with these rankings you have to look at the upcoming year.

    The Patriots play such an easy schedule. The AFC East is not very good, the NFC West has only one legit team in San Fran and the AFC South only has Houston.

    In every game the Patriots will be favored simply because they have the better QB. Only one game this year will they play against a team with a QB close to Brady and that will be against Denver.

    I don’t see the Pats finishing any worse then 12-4. I think 13-3 is probably where they finish.

  23. eckard71 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:24 AM

    As for the packers, they are a fly by night….they basically have a system on offense that puts up a lot of stats but in close games Rodgers is the worst Qb in the league. 3-18 in games decided by 3 points, which means if he has pressure to win and its not a blow out, he fails….the packers had their moment and its gone.

  24. thegronk87 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:25 AM

    and to the giants fan directly above,the giants managed to score only 19 points of offense against the 31st ranked defense. and if i remember correctly scoring a TD after a too many men on the field penalty in which the patriots otherwise would have had possession.

    bottom line the giants were fortunate in that the pats offense is based on 2 tight end sets…they struggle when either gronk or hernandez aren’t healthy. same thing happened in the bills game earlier in the year.

  25. eckard71 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:26 AM

    “That said, I really don’t get why writers still pick them every year as potential Super Bowl winners. Their dynasty ended in 2005, and Brady is 0-2 in the Super Bowl since. They had their day in the limelight, but it sure looks to me like most NFL talking heads are clinging to those days of long ago. The Texans are on the rise, the Ravens will be right there at the end, and I can’t ever fully count out the Steelers (as much as it pains me).”

    Well let me explain….when a team goes to the superbowl 5 times in 11 years….there are better than usual odds that they will win it all….you mention the ravens…1 superbowls since 2000…steelers? 2 superbowls since 2000, Texans….zero superbowls….Patriots…5 superbowls including last year….you sound stupid saying they are not contenders, but those other teams are.

  26. thebigcaptain2011 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:29 AM

    I usually don’t do this, but after reading some of these comments I feel the need to speak up. I won’t go into complete detail given that this is not a blog, but a comments section.
    This is too high for the Patriots. You do understand that the Giants swept them with the wins being on their field and at a neutral site. In the clutch. Truth be told the Pats had no business being there in the first place. If Cundiff makes a routine FG we aren’t talking about these clowns….or maybe we would. Someone said “last year was last year, this is this year”. Yeah, just like 2008 was 2008 and 2012 is 2012. Hasn’t changed, Giants still own you.
    To agree with the last poster, Tom Brady is overrated. He is a check down QB who is not accurate downfield and without Randy Moss you probably would have never seen him even try. When he did try in the Super Bowl he horribly underthrew Gronk and got picked off. He curls up when there is a good pass rush (case in point the three straight losses to the G-Men) and hasn’t won a title since spygate. Easy, but true. I will take all your thumb downs as a clear sign that this really got to you and in your heart of hearts you know its true.

  27. patriotenvy says: Jul 24, 2012 11:30 AM

    Giants had a good defense. Patriots did not. What is the Giants reason for scoring so low?

  28. wolvareen says: Jul 24, 2012 11:35 AM

    “Teams that lose the superbowl don’t fare too well the following season”

    Just like when the dolphins lost the superbowl in 71 right? They didn’t fare too well in 72.

  29. SeenThisB4 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:39 AM

    Would they be #1 if Giselle were playing defense?

  30. xxsweepthelegxx says: Jul 24, 2012 11:39 AM

    southpaw2k says:
    Jul 24, 2012 10:04 AM
    The Patriots will always be contenders as long as they have Brady and Belichick running things. Since the Dolphins are rebuilding, the Jets are falling, and the Bills need another year or two before they become really solid, New England will still own the AFC East and be competitive in the conference.

    That said, I really don’t get why writers still pick them every year as potential Super Bowl winners. Their dynasty ended in 2005, and Brady is 0-2 in the Super Bowl since. They had their day in the limelight, but it sure looks to me like most NFL talking heads are clinging to those days of long ago. The Texans are on the rise, the Ravens will be right there at the end, and I can’t ever fully count out the Steelers (as much as it pains me).
    ———————-
    In the last 11 years they’ve:
    been to the Super Bowl 5 times
    Won the AFC East 9 times

    They went to the SB last year, didn’t lose much, added outside WR threat(s), bostered Def through draft, why would it be so hard to pick them as a favorite?

    “They had their day in the limelight.” – just a laughable comment. Apparenlty losing the SB means they are done……sure

  31. xxsweepthelegxx says: Jul 24, 2012 11:47 AM

    tombradysbaby says:
    Jul 24, 2012 10:33 AM
    They will be contenders as usual. 11-5 or better considering the marshmallow schedule they have this year. The big question is can they develop a legitimate defense by the post season?
    ——————-
    Can you describe what a “Marshm”a”llo schedule is?? And then please enlighten me on what a “tough” schedule is? Just curious

  32. cali49er707 says: Jul 24, 2012 11:54 AM

    @bjamesa
    You say two uncharacteristic losses?? I say more like the Chiefs exposed something late in the season about GB. The Chiefs exposed your weak o-line, your lack of running game or willingness to commit to the running game, the fact that GB’s passing offense is timing based & if you jam the receivers at the line it throws their passing game off which is what GB’s bread & butter is, as well as the GB defense is full of wholes & if you dont turn the ball over & run at the GB defense then you will have plenty of success by moving the chains & keeping their offense off the field, & last but not least, due to the fact they never run you can play the pass & have the d-line pin their ears back attacking Rodgers!!

    Did u not see the KC & NYG games?? The gameplan was a carbon copy & ended with the same result a GB loss. The only difference was the score because, the Giants had better players then KC!!

  33. houndofthebaskervols says: Jul 24, 2012 11:56 AM

    The Pats have 20 guys in camp that will be cut, and will start for other teams this fall. They are stocked.

  34. scalfor3 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:01 PM

    this is about right. i couldn’t justify putting them at #1, but they could end up there by seasons end. the d actually has the potential to be decent if the right guys step up. fingers crossed for no major injuries

  35. calipatsfan420 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:02 PM

    I wish people would respect a good game. No matter how soft people say the pats schedule is, they still have go out and “win” those games. No one rolls over for nobody in the NFL. # 2 ranking is not reaching, very solid ranking. The whole organization is ran solid with great players. Hate all you want, but the N.E. Patriots are always there in the hunt, not many of you can say that about your teams and keep a straight face. Either way, football is almost here! Who’s ready for some football? Good luck to you all! San Francisco v New England is my prediction. Lol!

  36. rc33 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:08 PM

    Amazed by all these people saying N.E. “choked” in the playoffs. They were the #1 seed in the conference and won their conference.
    Have we reached the point where a team that gets to the SB and loses is “choking the playoffs?”
    Green Bay, at 15-1 and the best regular season in football; that “choking” I understand, I suppose.

  37. patsandwannabees says: Jul 24, 2012 12:13 PM

    thebigcaptain2011 says:
    Jul 24, 2012 11:29 AM
    I usually don’t do this, but after reading some of these comments I feel the need to speak up. I won’t go into complete detail given that this is not a blog, but a comments section.
    This is too high for the Patriots. You do understand that the Giants swept them with the wins being on their field and at a neutral site. In the clutch. Truth be told the Pats had no business being there in the first place. If Cundiff makes a routine FG we aren’t talking about these clowns….or maybe we would. Someone said “last year was last year, this is this year”. Yeah, just like 2008 was 2008 and 2012 is 2012. Hasn’t changed, Giants still own you.
    To agree with the last poster, Tom Brady is overrated. He is a check down QB who is not accurate downfield and without Randy Moss you probably would have never seen him even try. When he did try in the Super Bowl he horribly underthrew Gronk and got picked off. He curls up when there is a good pass rush (case in point the three straight losses to the G-Men) and hasn’t won a title since spygate. Easy, but true. I will take all your thumb downs as a clear sign that this really got to you and in your heart of hearts you know its true.
    —————–

    In your heart, you know that if Gronk (yes, 1 player) was at 100%, the PATS would probably have won. There is replay of the Giants players before the end of the 1st half saying he was just a “decoy.”
    That being said, Brady’s 3 super bowl rings were with small name receivers and not guys named Moss. This year he will do it with better receivers and tight ends than he ever had. To say they don’t deserve # 2 or to put down Brady as a check down QB is foolish.

    Let me show you how its done……
    “The Giants were the superbowl Champions. Although a long shot to do it again, they should be # 1. “

  38. patsfiend says: Jul 24, 2012 12:18 PM

    Giants fans have a hard on for the Pats, still. Three wins over the Pats barely eaked out over the last few years are the only thing that give the Blue Man Group credibility. Keep grasping onto it, because G Men will be watching the playoffs from home this year.

  39. bbgraf08 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:19 PM

    jackychilds says:
    Jul 24, 2012 11:11 AM
    They’ll kick butt in the regular season and the choke in the playoffs like they’ve been doing for several years now.

    No one can deny this, even the most hard-headed of New Englanders can’t.

    —————————-

    Losing in the Superbowl is “choking” in the playoffs? What does that say about all the other teams?

    Sidenote…someone said we wouldn’t be talking about the Patriots had Cundiff made that kick. Incorrect, that was to tie the game. It’s easy to make arguments when you use assumptions rather than facts.

  40. wikidpissah says: Jul 24, 2012 12:28 PM

    I’m a big Pats fan, but it always amuses me how the writers and “experts” go with offensive teams (Pats and Packers) when defense is the key. Look at the Colts for most of the past decade, the Pats over the past few years, and last year when everyone saw the Pats and Packers in the Super Bowl, but both lost to a superior defense.

    In both recent Super Bowl losses the Pats had leads late in the game but their defense couldn’t hold. If BB can fix the defense, and it appears they’ve taken big strides in that area, they will be very tough to beat.

  41. radrntn says: Jul 24, 2012 12:29 PM

    Hard to bet against the pats when they have Tom Brady…..w/o tom brady they are dfl

  42. rpmcanes says: Jul 24, 2012 12:30 PM

    If Cundiff makes a routine FG we aren’t talking about these clowns….or maybe we would.

    True, however if the 49ers would’ve just hung onto the ball on kickoffs you wouldn’t have even been there either. I respect Eli, guy makes plays when it counts.

  43. xxsweepthelegxx says: Jul 24, 2012 12:34 PM

    thebigcaptain2011 says:
    Jul 24, 2012 11:29 AM
    I usually don’t do this, but after reading some of these comments I feel the need to speak up. I won’t go into complete detail given that this is not a blog, but a comments section.
    This is too high for the Patriots. You do understand that the Giants swept them with the wins being on their field and at a neutral site. In the clutch. Truth be told the Pats had no business being there in the first place. If Cundiff makes a routine FG we aren’t talking about these clowns….or maybe we would. Someone said “last year was last year, this is this year”. Yeah, just like 2008 was 2008 and 2012 is 2012. Hasn’t changed, Giants still own you.
    To agree with the last poster, Tom Brady is overrated. He is a check down QB who is not accurate downfield and without Randy Moss you probably would have never seen him even try. When he did try in the Super Bowl he horribly underthrew Gronk and got picked off. He curls up when there is a good pass rush (case in point the three straight losses to the G-Men) and hasn’t won a title since spygate. Easy, but true. I will take all your thumb downs as a clear sign that this really got to you and in your heart of hearts you know its true.
    —————
    “Tom Brady is overrated. He is a check down QB who is not accurate downfield and without Randy Moss you probably would have never seen him even try.”

    HE HAD RANDY though, and both he and Randy broke NFL records when together moron. You play with what you have. Do you want him throwing deep balls to Taylor Price, Deion Branch, etc..all day…no. Does GB want to run the ball with James Starks 30 time a game..no… get a clue.

    “Truth be told the Pats had no business being there in the first place. If Cundiff makes a routine FG we aren’t talking about these clowns”

    Truth be told, the Ravens/Cundiff had no business being at Gillette that day with the gift they received from the Texans. We could play that game all day.

    And yes..your GMen have been victorious over the Pats 3 times in a row..congrats to that. They’ve also included some of, if not the greatest plays, in NFL history to win those games. Luck? maybe… Skill? maybe. You can judge for youself..through your tainted blue goggles

  44. thegronk87 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:34 PM

    giantsfanlewis, obviously you need help so here it is, manningham had skills that required defenses to pay attention to him. inserting a rookie for manningham next year will be a downgrade. eli’s entire nfl career has been made by his wide receivers. where was eli before plax?

    sheesh, giants fans are acting like they went 14-2.

  45. geniusfan says: Jul 24, 2012 12:36 PM

    Ahh the irony. Eli Manning in two Super Bowl wins has scored 17 and 19 points (19 points against the worst Patriots defense I’ve ever seen) yet gets the lions share of the credit for those wins.

    I wonder what the score of the Super Bowl would have been if Tom Brady and Eli Manning swapped defenses for the game?

    By the way at least Brady has scored 10, 24, and 32 points in his three super bow wins 10 being the only number lower than Eli’s two wins.

    I think this ranking is fair the Patriots are the best team in the AFC bar none. The offense is even more loaded than it was last year Brandon Lloyd adds a huge vertical presence to the Patriots offense that has been missing since Randy Moss left. If the defense can just be average it should be more than enough for a sixth Super Bowl trip for the Patriots.

    The NFL is always incredibly unpredictable though so I’m not saying it’s a lock the Patriots make it back to the Super Bowl but they should be AFC favorites this year.

  46. patriotinvasion says: Jul 24, 2012 12:37 PM

    southpaw2k says:

    “Their dynasty ended in 2005, and Brady is 0-2 in the Super Bowl since. They had their day in the limelight, but it sure looks to me like most NFL talking heads are clinging to those days of long ago.”
    __________

    I love how you say 0-2 in Super Bowls since 2005 as if that is just ho-hum. There are about 27 other teams that would kill to be “0-2 in Super Bowls” the last 7 years.

    The media still views the Patriots as Super Bowl contenders ever year, because they contend for the Super Bowl ever year! Congrats to the Giants for making 1 more play then we did in those two games, but the Patriots haven’t exactly been irrelevant since 2005 buddy.

  47. vcupats says: Jul 24, 2012 12:38 PM

    The Pats’ D is not really the issue in the playoffs. They’ve played some solid games, but if the offense isn’t going to give you more than 17, what can you do. The Pats D performed well in SB46, and were beaten on a perfectly executed pass. No shame in that.

  48. bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:40 PM

    Pats fans can’t deal with the fact that Brady/ Belichick legacy is now tarnished with 2 losses to the Giants in Super Bowl. Brady was terrible in both games.

    Pat fans will also relaize Brady is just a check down QB who pads his stats with dinks and dunks all day. And gets completely rattled with the slightest bit of pressure.

    The Ravens and Giants defense just flat-out own Brady

  49. phillynac says: Jul 24, 2012 12:58 PM

    Hahaha….I thing the Pats are like 8-1 against the Ravens. Wow, that Ravens defense really owns them. As for the Giants, they got hot and won the SB. Much respect. But going 7-7 and winning 6 in a row is not going to happen every year. They are playing with fire and they will eventually get burnt. That is why the Pats are ranked ahead of the Giants. If we were ranking LAST season, the Giants would be 1 and the Pats 2. But this is a projection of this season so what does the Giants winning the superbowl have to do with this year…..nothing at all.

  50. flash1283 says: Jul 24, 2012 1:08 PM

    bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:40 PM

    Pats fans can’t deal with the fact that Brady/ Belichick legacy is now tarnished with 2 losses to the Giants in Super Bowl. Brady was terrible in both games.

    Pat fans will also relaize Brady is just a check down QB who pads his stats with dinks and dunks all day. And gets completely rattled with the slightest bit of pressure.

    The Ravens and Giants defense just flat-out own Brady
    —-

    Pats Giants games have all been close.

    As for the Ravens, they are 1-7 vs the Patriots!

    And please explain how a “check down” QB throws for over 5000 yards (all games outdoors).

    I guess all these former players and coaches are all wrong about Brady but you have it all figured out.

  51. guypatsfan says: Jul 24, 2012 1:09 PM

    I’ll always say that the Pats got beat twice in the SB by a team that got hot at the right time. It happens in sports all the time. The Giants limp into the playoffs, suddenly get hot, and everything falls into place for them. No knock on their talent, but to win the SB with a 9-7 record means you got hot at the right time. Green Bay won it in 2010 with a 10-6 record, and they got hot at the right time. Three road wins in today’s NFL means you got hot at the right time.

    I have a feeling that this is the year for the Pats to win it all. All the parts are in place, and they’re rarin’ to go.

  52. londonfletcher says: Jul 24, 2012 1:10 PM

    It kills me that the Pats are ranked ABOVE the team that beat them in the Super Bowl, for the second time in five years at that. I can understand everybody riding the Packers junk, but at least put the Giants at #2…

  53. geniusfan says: Jul 24, 2012 1:17 PM

    “The Ravens and Giants defense just flat-out own Brady”

    Tom Brady is something like 8-1 against the Ravens i’d love for every team to “flat out own” Tom Brady like that.

    Keep it coming Pats haters the more you talk the worse you sound.

  54. bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 1:30 PM

    Pat fans love to talk about all there “big” regular season wins but here’s Brady’s stats against Ravens last 2 playoff games.

    •2009 against the Ravens: 23/42, 154 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 3.67 yards per attempt

    •2012 against the Ravens: 22/36, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 6.64 yards per attempt

  55. bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 1:36 PM

    I’ll always say that the Pats got beat twice in the SB by a team that got hot at the right time. It happens in sports all the time. The Giants limp into the playoffs, suddenly get hot, and everything falls into place for them. No knock on their talent, but to win the SB with a 9-7 record means you got hot at the right time. Green Bay won it in 2010 with a 10-6 record, and they got hot at the right time. Three road wins in today’s NFL means you got hot at the right time.

    Giants didn’t “limp” into playoffs in 07′. They had already clinched in week 15…

    Last year Giants were most banged up playoff team all year with 13 guys on IR and Tuck, Osi and Boley missed alot of season and all 3 were hurt durng 4 game losing streak.

    When they came back Giantswent 6-0 and gave up only 13.5 ppg and added another Lombardi to the shelf

    Deal with it Giants are world champs and when healthy will shut down any offense in the NFL.

  56. thegronk87 says: Jul 24, 2012 1:38 PM

    “patriots dynasty ended in 2005″

    better than not having a dynasty, giants and ravens fans.

  57. tburst414 says: Jul 24, 2012 1:38 PM

    eckard71 says:
    Jul 24, 2012 11:24 AM
    As for the packers, they are a fly by night….they basically have a system on offense that puts up a lot of stats but in close games Rodgers is the worst Qb in the league. 3-18 in games decided by 3 points, which means if he has pressure to win and its not a blow out, he fails….the packers had their moment and its gone.

    Of the 18 losses, how many of those games did Rodgers have the ball on the final possession? As I recall, many of those losses were a result of the defense not being able to hold on to the win that the offense had set up. You using that stat out of context my paint the picture you want it to but it does not mean its accurate.

    You called 2011 NFL MVP the worst QB in the NFL in pressure situations… Think about that for a moment. The Packers’s defense has a lot to prove this year, AR and the offense leave most Packers fans I know with very little cause for concern.

    Congrats to both the Giants and Patriots, they are the top three teams in the NFL. The order is debatable but they are the cream of the crop.

  58. tuckfanforlife says: Jul 24, 2012 1:42 PM

    brady been a postseason bust since giants beat his ass in superbowl 42.

    minus the tebow game

  59. Steeler's Will says: Jul 24, 2012 1:47 PM

    The G-Men beating them in the Super Bowl does not mean the Pats didn’t improve upon their key weaknesses in the offseason. Somebody somewhere compares last season and factors in offseason additions and subtractions, and decides who looks the strongest for the season ahead. It’s nothing to get butt-hurt about.

  60. drobstad says: Jul 24, 2012 1:55 PM

    Funny… Patriots are # 2 and the Giants are #3… yet the Giants have beaten the Patriots the last 2 times they met in the Super Bowl and twice last year alone. If only the Giants could get back to back seasons with the easiest schedule in the league people would realize they are a more complete team. Defense is required to win championships and the Pats D can’t stop a nose bleed.

  61. elitekane says: Jul 24, 2012 1:58 PM

    bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:40 PM

    “Pats fans can’t deal with the fact that Brady/ Belichick legacy is now tarnished with 2 losses to the Giants in Super Bowl. Brady was terrible in both games. ”

    Tell me how its tarnished. 2007 we lost because Asante couldn’t catch a open INT, in 2011 we lost because either welker dropped the ball “not sayin was a great pass” or it was our defense.

    May i mention while he was also so “terrible” against the giants defense he broke the record for most completions in a row in the superbowl.

    when we’ve won 3 superbowls “about to be 4 this year”, go to playoffs every year, 5 times been to superbowl “about to be 6 this year”

  62. bigbluefan1 says: Jul 24, 2012 1:58 PM

    patsfiend says:Jul 24, 2012 12:18 PM

    Giants fans have a hard on for the Pats, still. Three wins over the Pats barely eaked out over the last few years are the only thing that give the Blue Man Group credibility. Keep grasping onto it, because G Men will be watching the playoffs from home this year.

    _________________________________

    Wow eaked out two of those were for the Championship you know the thing NE has not won in how long?
    I promise you this 3o teams would charish those eaked out wins.
    None of the 4 Giants Super Bowl wins were done with cheating can you fine folks in NE say the same.
    What is your problem admit it Boston teams carry the water of the NY teams other then the Jets.
    Your Sox’s are own by the NYY and the Pats are the personal property of the NYG.

  63. drobstad says: Jul 24, 2012 2:05 PM

    Best part is how jealous Boston fans are of all the winning NY does. They take such pride in a pro-football talk power ranking being above the Giants. Truth of the matter is the Giants own the Patriots, have won 2 superbowls since their last championship (where they got caught cheating). And we won’t get into the Yankees and Redsox because that just gets comical. Enjoy your pre-season power ranking and cake walk schedule. We’ll see you in January.

  64. bigblue5611 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:37 PM

    elitekane says:
    Tell me how its tarnished. 2007 we lost because Asante couldn’t catch a open INT, in 2011 we lost because either welker dropped the ball “not sayin was a great pass” or it was our defense

    Please, enough with the would of, could of, should of……………you didn’t??

    IN 2007, Giants dropped 1st down pass at your 10 that resulted in turnover otherwise we score. Then after going up 10-7 with 7 to go, Mannig rolls left and misses a WIDE open Burress who would probably have scored and game over. We dominated that game

    2012-Giants dominating with 4 mins left in half up 9-3, Jacobs rumbles for 11 and first down but NO, phantom holding call which Wolfork admitted on national tv was a horrendous call. If not for that, Giants go in at up 16-3 and game over

    Pat fans please stop crying, Giants own you with 2 wins in Super Bowl…….it’s not up for debate

  65. alskdh says: Jul 24, 2012 2:56 PM

    If this was not a Fandom ranking system completely, and a complete abuse of power, the Pats may or may not be #1, but Green Bay should NOT be.

    AFC champs, with last years #1 Offense (statistically, but apparently this ranking is not going using that), weapons on offense to rival the 2007 season added to an already record breaking offense, with the easiest schedule in the league, holes filled on defense through one of the leagues best off seasons.

  66. xxsweepthelegxx says: Jul 24, 2012 3:17 PM

    drobstad says:
    Jul 24, 2012 2:05 PM
    Best part is how jealous Boston fans are of all the winning NY does. They take such pride in a pro-football talk power ranking being above the Giants. Truth of the matter is the Giants own the Patriots, have won 2 superbowls since their last championship (where they got caught cheating). And we won’t get into the Yankees and Redsox because that just gets comical. Enjoy your pre-season power ranking and cake walk schedule. We’ll see you in January.
    ——————-
    You claiming to the Yankees Dynasty is exactly what you are critizing Pats fans of doing. I get it, the Yankees have 27, 28? championships? Unless you’re 95 yrs old, who gives a $ H ! T. In the last 10 years they have 1…count them 1 title. Keep bragging about “Grampa’s Yankees.”

    As for the cake walk schedule….you mean like the Redskins, Seahawks, etc…hell I’ll throw in the Eagles while I’m at it. Oh wait a min…you lost those 5 games. Point is, there are no easy games in the NFL.

    Your team won in 2012, congrats. But it’s a new year now…good luck to you…hopefully we meet again, the games are exciting.

  67. eyezworld says: Jul 24, 2012 3:32 PM

    wes welker will not have a very productive year by his standards. with the other tight end back and 2 outside deep threats, there will not be much room for the slot. They will decrease his plays so when they come to the table next year, they can get him at a bargain. thats the way they operate. come back to this article by mid season so i can say ” i told you so”

  68. 49erstim says: Jul 24, 2012 7:07 PM

    They have an awful lot of holes and question marks on D for a team ranked #2…..that offense sure is stacked though…great QB too. They sound an awful lot like New Orleans…whom you ranked much lower…playing favorites?… :-)

  69. giantsfanlewis says: Jul 24, 2012 7:31 PM

    Mario wasn’t even in 4 of our games and didn’t start 2 of the other 12. We still have barden, hixon and more to help and before plax who was Eli? If I’m correct he was a rookie who started 7 games. Since plax he has increased his ts and yard total each year and turned nobody’s into household names. Kevin boss and jake Ballard are examples, same with cruz. Steve smith was at his best with Eli. I mean in 2010 Eli had no receivers to work with and he had 31 tds. He seriously was playing with guys the giants pulled off the streets due to injurys. So Eli makes reciecers not the other way around

  70. kingcarlbanks says: Jul 25, 2012 1:19 AM

    There isnt any reason to get all rangled about a ranking by a bunch of talking heads. To me its all opinion, which everybody is entitled to. The thing that cracks me up about Pats fans is this belief they have been good forever. You had one decent team in the 80′s that got throttled by the Bears, but before then and after the Pats were a joke. You’ve had one coach and QB. When they are gone you will laughingstocks of the NFL once again. Try going to 5Bowls in 4 different decades with 4 different QB’s and 3 different coaches. When Brady retires the crying in NE will be epic..

  71. tedmurph says: Jul 25, 2012 10:57 AM

    Since Kraft bought the team, starting in 1994, Pats have made the playoffs 13/18 yrs and gone to 5 Super Bowls. This includes the ’96 SB, when Parcells was the coach and Brady was a freshman @ Michigan

  72. aljack88 says: Jul 25, 2012 8:23 PM

    bigbluefan1 says:
    Jul 24, 2012 1:58 PM

    …None of the 4 Giants Super Bowl wins were done with cheating can you fine folks in NE say the same…

    —————————————————————

    Oh, that’s right. Bill hadn’t gone over to the “dark side” yet for those first 2 SB wins.

    I just bet you are one of the very small minority that wasn’t calling for Coughlin’s hide after 4 weeks of the 07 season. You remember that, right?

    If the Giants finish 9-7 again and not make the playoffs, we’ll see how loyal your fan base and media are again.

  73. therealbobjenkins says: Jul 30, 2012 3:25 PM

    Giants beat the Pats 3 times last year, once in the preseason, once in Foxborough, and once in the Super Bowl.

    The Giants had the toughest strength of schedule last year, not to mention playing in the toughest division in football, and what happened?

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