2010 Patriots NFL Predictions: How will the Patriots fare?

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For me, one of my favorite parts of each offseason is making a set of predictions about the NFL season that probably will be completely off-base and definitely won't come true.  Well, we've reached that point of the NFL offseason again.  we are in the dead period.  Most of the beat writers are on vacation, there's little to no NFL or Patriots-related news, there's just the waiting period between now and training camp.  So, what better than make predictions about our beloved Patriots and the 2010 NFL season?  This will be the first in a 10 part series that will include predictions on the Patriots season and the NFL in general.  Predictions will not only be made by me, but the entire staff of Pats Pulpit as well.  Enjoy!  And remember to scrutinize and debate each one of our predictions, because: A. we're probably wrong; and B. what's the fun in making predictions if they can't spark debate?

2010 Patriots NFL Predictions: How will the Patriots fare? A prediction looking at the Patriots season as a whole.  What will the teams record be?  How will the team fare in the playoffs (if applicable)?

Marima:

Patriots 2010 Record: 12-4

AFC East Finish: 1st

Playoff Seed: 3rd

Playoff Result: Super Bowl Champions

Thoughts: The Patriots underdog status ironically makes them stronger, tougher and tighter right out of the gate. This team has a terrific blend of experience and youth on both sides of the ball, with veterans stepping up as leaders and making themselves available to the hungry rookies. Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Jerod Mayo will be starting off the season healthy and impatient to wipe away the still-stinging memory of that blow-out playoff loss to the Ravens. It's a perfect storm that will culminate on February 6th in Dallas, Texas. 

Mike Dussault:

Patriots 2010 Record: 11-5

AFC East Finish: 2nd

Playoff Seed: 5th

Playoff Result: Beat Chiefs in AFCWCG, Beat Colts in AFCDG, Lose to Ravens in AFCCG

Thoughts: This is the hardest schedule the Pats have had in the last ten years. 11-5 is respectable, they'll take their lumps early on but will peak at the end and pull off two playoff road wins before falling in the AFCCG. In 2011 all pieces will be in place for a legit Super Bowl run.

Richard Hill and Greg Knopping's predictions after the jump!

Richard Hill:

Patriots 2010 Record: 11-5

AFC East Finish: 1st

Playoff Seed: 3rd

Playoff Result: Lose to Baltimore Ravens in AFC Championship Game

Thoughts:  I see the Patriots taking the AFC East again, with the Jets picking up a Wild Card spot at 10-6. The Patriots beat the Steelers (the 6th seed) in order to face the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots manage to overcome their demons and beat Indy in Indianapolis- however, the road ends in Baltimore as the Ravens go on to become Super Bowl Champions.

I think the Patriots defense will hold strong throughout the season, but I believe that the offensive line will start to crumble due to injury at the end of the season- ultimately ending the Patriots playoff run. The Ravens will be able to tear through the offensive line, disrupting the offense. However, the Patriots, and their young players, are set up and emerge as a favorite for 2011.

Greg Knopping:

Patriots 2010 Record: 11-5

AFC East Finish: 1st

Playoff Seed: 2nd

Playoff Result: Patriots defeat Cowboys in Super Bowl XLV

Thoughts: Originally, I had the Patriots losing to the Ravens in the AFC Championship game.  However, after seeing the predictions of Mike Dussault and Richard Hill, I decided to switch my prediction to the Patriots as Super Bowl champs.  While I think it is unlikely that the Patriots will actually go on to win the Super Bowl, I feel that there is a certain aura around this team that could make it dangerous.  Now that the expectations, at least outside of New England are lowered, I think there is a good chance this team could rally and really make some noise in the playoffs.  And lets be honest, who wants to predict a loss in the AFC Championship or the Super Bowl after the torture Patriots fans endured in 2006 and 2007?

While the Patriots could easily end up 10-6 with a first round exit, I also think this team has the chance to win it all.  I think Tom Brady gets as close to 2007 form as we'll ever see from him again, and I think the team can squeak out a first round bye despite the tough schedule.  Even if this team doesn't win it all this year, there is no question they will be better in 2011.

Feel free to provide your own predictions!  On Wednesday, we'll look at Patriots' MVP predictions!

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