So I'm not too worried about the Patriots. Even with the loss of weapons on offense, the only team I would comfortably put atop the Patriots in the AFC is DEN. Still, I do expect a few more losses this season. But a lot of fans seem to the gains on defense make up for some hefty losses on offense, which puzzles me. I've heard a fan refer to the Pats' D as "stacked", but have they really made enough additions to their defense?
While the defense has generally been underrated due to its extreme bendability (yards vs. points), it's still a long ways from "elite", which is what the offense has been. Have they really fixed enough of their defensive holes (e.g. vulnerability to the pass, lack of a consistent pass rush, over-reliance on turnovers) to offset the dip in offense? We've been very optimistic before about the defense during the preseason (Haynesworth?) before things settled in, and the Pats still gave up huge passing yardage. Let me know any specific reasons you think the Pats defense will make it over the hump this year (e.g. players and how they'll fit in).