Perhaps the Bills win the East, but come on, 6-10 for the Patriots? They were easily the #1 defense in the league last year, and virtually the entire starting roster on that side of the ball is back. That alone sets the floor at 8 wins, imo. Throw in still having the greatest coach of all time and the best special teams in the league, and I think 10-11 wins is still very attainable.
Obviously losing Brady hurts, no one will dispute that. But let's also not forget that since the Brady/Belichick era began, the Patriots are 13-6 in games that Brady hasn't started. The NFL's certainly unpredictable, so I'll never call anything in this league impossible, but probably 6-10 or worse feels like an insult for a team that returns most of what was the league's best defense last year. It's worth noting that you have to go all the way back to 2010 to find a team with the best defense that missed the playoffs, and that only happened because the team with the best defense that year (the Chargers) lost five games because their special teams allowed a touchdown or a blocked punt that served as the margin of victory. Despite all of that, that team still won 9 games.
Throw in the league's best special teams, and the fact that New England is still being run by the most successful coach in NFL history, and I'd personally be very surprised if they finish below .500.
Easily #1 Defense? By the end of the year they were pretty badly exposed, and it was more fitting to call them a top 5 defense at best. You can say they had the best secondary, and maybe still do, but they were shown to be a defense that's mostly great in situational football and could never stop the run.
"Virtually the entire starting roster on that side of the ball is back." Have you actually paid any attention to player transactions?
"Since the Brady/Belichick era began, the Patriots are 13-6." Convenient that you said the 'Brady/Belichick' era, and not just the Belichick era, otherwise you'd have to add an extra 5-11 season. And that's doing him a service because it doesn't include the Browns years.
Are you gonna mention how he went 11-5 with Matt Cassel? A roster that was 3mins away from being perfect the previous year, and then didn't make the playoffs, with a QB who went on to make a Pro Bowl 2 years laters with the Chiefs and have a statistically better season.
Were you also gonna mention that every QB that's played a full season for Belichick has been a Pro Bowler at some point, but the only one to make the Pro Bowl with Belichick was Tom Brady? Two of them were also former no.1 picks.
Honestly, it just keeps getting more clear how delusional you are. I'm not even trying to disprove that Bill Belichick is the best coach in the league, because he is. But when you look at how hard it was for the Steelers to win 8 games last year with arguably the second best coach in the league, and right now the Patriots aren't as good or talented on either side of the ball, just looking at the team on paper. No one can win games alone (especially if they're not even on the field), and you should've realised that by now.
This isn't even taking into account that it just wouldn't be smart for the Patriots to win games next season, when they really should be jockeying for the best possible draft position to get a QB. Or do you actually believe Jarret Stidham is the future?
I mean, it wasn't bad enough that you spent the whole of last season in denial, but here you are still in denial, believing the Patriots can still get away with not having to rebuild after 20 years, even after the cornerstone of the team has left.
You should be more concerned about whether Belichick has enough years left in him to successfully rebuild the team, and hopefully get a new era started for the next coach on the right track. And a lot of that will be probably be down to luck, just like it was the first time round.