Marc Sessler (NFL.com) Achilles heels: These five squads could see their playoff hopes succumb to their fatal flaw.
5. New England Patriots defensive backfield: Nobody can question Bill Belichick's inventive approach to the secondary last season. In an act of desperation, wideouts Julian Edelman and Matt Slater moonlighted as defensive backs. This was cute a decade ago when Troy Brown actually developed into a solid defender -- this time around it was a cry for help.
Everybody talks about Brady's ill-fated Hail Mary, but Eli Manning and the Giants won their second Super Bowl against the Patriots by shredding this defensive backfield in the game's decisive drive. With no major upgrades this offseason, the Patriots are vulnerable against an offense that can keep pace with New England. Few teams can, but it could be Belichick's Achilles' heel in 2012.
New England Patriots: B+
Williamson was pretty clear in saying, "As it stands today, the Patriots are the best team in football." That’s a strong statement, but the Patriots did have a strong offseason. They added free agents such as receiver Brandon Lloyd and went hard on defense in the draft, which includes first-rounders Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones. There’s not many weaknesses on this team. The reigning AFC champs look determined to get back to the Super Bowl.
- Gillette Stadium to go smoke free.
- Jeff Howe sees some big expectations for Brandon Spikes and tabs him as this season's breakout candidate as well.
- Jeff Howe examines the team position by position: Linebackers and Cornerbacks.
- Mike Rodak analyzes players on the roster bubble and where they may potentially fit in 2012: G/C Nick McDonald.
- Field Yates scouts the Patriots roster: 4-3 OLBs.
- Boston.com takes a close look at the Patriots opponents in the upcoming season: Houston Texans.
- Luke Hughes reports Rob Gronkowski crushes a 320-foot home run and wins the Triple-A Celebrity Home Run Derby in Buffalo.
- Mike Reiss notes Matt Williamson (ESPN Insider content) grades the Bills offseason ahead of the Patriots because of the Pats draft pick of Tavon Wilson.
- James Walker (ESPN) Updating AFC East salary caps.
- NFL Live (ESPN) Welker with Pats in '13? (1.44 min. video)
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Welker, Pats still very far apart.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Fans making clear they want lower prices.
- Jen Floyd Engel (Fox Sports) Players can take on weakened Goodell.