We have already seen the first two games of the 2013 New England Patriots´ regular season. This gives us a possible glimpse into how the team will do this season and what possibilities it has for the playoffs. At present, New England is in first place in the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference of the National Football League (NFL). It has an early win-loss differential of +2 and a composite UBWS (UnlessBigWinningStreak) score of +4.8. What record of wins and losses do we expect from our football team during the regular season? What should be the initial team objectives with regards to the number of projected wins and the playoffs?
1. WIN 10 GAMES IN 2013.
The first initial team objective is to win 10 games. We shall use three criteria to address the projected number of wins in 2013: past yearly statistics, present “expanded” roster, and first two games.
Based on past yearly statistics, the New England Patriots could have a 12-4 record for 2013.
Since 2002 New England has won between 9-16 games each season. In 2007 the team won 16 games and in 2002 nine games. There have been three seasons with 14 wins, one season with 13 wins, two seasons with 12 wins, one season with 11 wins, and two seasons with ten wins. An average record would be 12-4.
Based on a present “expanded” roster with many players having relatively little NFL experience, the New England Patriots could easily have an 8-8 record for 2013.
A quick look at the offensive, defensive, and special team rosters will reveal some key NFL experience and a big lack of significant NFL experience among many players. These team units can be naturally divided into two groups: those with more than six years of NFL experience and those with six or less years of NFL experience.
On Offense: Five players with more than six years of NFL experience, 20 players with six years or less of NFL experience.
On Defense: Four players with more than six years of NFL experience, 31 players with six years or less of NFL experience.
On Special Teams: One player with more than six years of NFl experience, two players with six years or less of NFL experience.
Totals: Ten players with more than six years of NFL experience, 53 players with six years or less of NFL experience.
Comment: We have a lot of relatively less-experienced players on this year´s team. Therefore, both veteran and less-experienced players will have to rise to the challenge and play well in order to have a winning season.
Based on their first two games, the New England Patriots so far have a winning record for 2013.
A pattern seemed to emerge while watching their first two games. During the first three quarters of each game, the less-experienced players get the opportunity to integrate themselves with the veteran players. During the fourth quarter of each game, New England seems to turn to its veterans as well as maybe to less-experienced players who are performing well.
CONCLUSION: We would like to project an 11-5 season for the 2013 New England Patriots. However, based on our brief evaluation of past year statistics, “expanded” roster, and first two games, we hope that Tom, Ryan, Leon, Jerod, and Stephen, and the other veterans can lead the 2013 New England Patriots to at least a 10-6 season. This year´s team has its own weaknesses and makes its share of mistakes. Somehow, the offense, the defense, and the special teams can take advantage of opponents´ weaknesses and mistakes and keep finding ways to win close games. The team can reach its first initial team objective by mantaining a win-loss differential of around +4 or more and a composite UBWS score of +4.8 or more. The following games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, and Cincinnati Bengals will provide us a better picture of how our team is doing.
2. MAKE THE PLAYOFFS IN 2013.
Since the 2002 season, the New England Patriots have always finished the season either alone in first place or sharing it with one or more teams. However, on two occasions (2002, 2008) we did not make it to the playoffs, with nine and eleven wins respectively. Not making the playoffs in 2008 was unusual, since on two occasions (2005, 2009) the team finished the season in first place in the division and went to the playoffs with just 10 wins. As stated previously, although we would like to shoot for an 11-5 record this season, a 10-6 season may be more realistic at this point. If that happens, other factors may determine if we qualify or not for the postseason. We certainly hope so!
SOMEBODY WILL SAY
Somebody will say that these initial team objectives “just can´t be done,”
but we, with a chuckle, reply
that “maybe they can´t,” but we will be ones
who won´t say so till our team has tried them.
So if the Pats buckle right in, with a trace of a grin
on their faces, and if they have worries and try to hide them,
and if the fans start to chant as their team tackles these things
that “can’t be done,” just maybe the Patriots will do them,
Somebody will scoff, “Oh, New England will never reach these initial team objectives;
admit that it will be tough for your team to reach them.”
But our players will go to the stadium and put on their uniforms
and the first thing we´ll know is that they´ve owned them,
with a lift of a chin and a bit of a grin,
without any self-doubting or objections.
If the fans start to chant as their team tackles these things
that “can´t be done,” just maybe the Patriots will do them.
There are thousands to tell you that these initial team objectives just “cannot be done.”
There are thousands to prophesy New England´s failure.
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
all the other teams that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in, with a bit of a grin,
Just put on your uniforms and go to it.
The fans will start to chant as you tackle these things
that “can´t be done,” and just maybe you´ll do them!
Let´s go, Patriots! You can do them!
(Suggested chant for New England Patriot fans, “You can, you can do them!”)