The New England Patriots sit at 2-0 and are in strong position to win the division and likely a top seed, depending on how the rest of the regular season goes. Patriots are 2-0 against the conference, 1-0 in the division, and 1-0 vs. last year's division winners. There are still some question marks on the team, but I believe those questions will be answered quickly. The game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will provide even more insight to who is reliable and who to play over the long haul of the season. Here's what we've learned so far:
- Josh Kline is Part of the Solution at Guard
- 4 TE Package is Belichick's New Thing
- Malcolm Butler Can Match-up Against an Opponent's Top Receiver
- Duron Harmon Can Play the Deep Safety Role Well
- Dion Lewis is the Team's Receiving Back and Offers Something as a Runner
- The Patriots Finally Have Quality Pass Rushing Depth
- Teams Don't Know How to Stop Gronk and Edelman
- Brady is Pissed and is Out to Break Every Record He Can
- David Andrews Has Done a Great Job Filling in for Bryan Stork at Center
- Aaron Dobson Showed Up Against the Bills
The road to getting Home Field Advantage in the AFC Playoffs starts with beating Denver and Indianapolis, who I picked to win their respective divisions. They also have to take care of business in their own division and win at least 3 of the 5 remaining divisional games. That's not an easy path, but we'll cross that path when we get there. Right now the focus is on Jacksonville. A win against them puts the Patriots at 3-0 with a 3-0 conference record. Going even further into the year, the Patriots have these questions to answer:
- Is Aaron Dobson really that reliable an option and will he fade into obscurity when Brandon LaFell is finally healthy?
- Who starts at the other guard spot between Ryan Wendell, Shaq Mason, and Tre Jackson?
- Who can man the Nickel CB role between Bradley Fletcher and Logan Ryan?
- How much of a role does LeGarrette Blount have in this offense?
- How effective an interior pass rusher will Dominique Easley be with that hip pointer injury bothering him?
If the Patriots can answer those questions, they'll be great shape in terms of defending their title. The Patriots have the pieces to contend for the Super Bowl and barring any health issues, there's a very good chance of repeating. For now, we're onto Jacksonville.