Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/9/13
Bill Belichick always tells his teams that the season doesn’t really start until November, but in 2013 it will start on the first kickoff. Losing almost the entire receiving corps along with the fallout from the Aaron Hernandez saga could leave the Patriots vulnerable early on and NFL teams are taking notice. Belichick and Tom Brady will have their work cut out for them, but who better to deal with a situation like this? Belichick’s ‘us against the world’ mentality will galvanize the troops; however, it may take some time and an unusual sight in Foxboro - the Patriots struggling. According to Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com, if teams are going to go after the Patriots, early in the season is the time. “Three of the quarterback's four best weapons are gone, if you throw (Brandon) Lloyd in there," one NFC personnel executive told NFL.com's Albert Breer. "The run game is solid, but how much of that was because of how well they throw it? The defense is just OK. ... I think they're average, depending on when Gronk gets back. Teams are gonna be biting at the bit to play them early on." Rosenthal writes: ‘There's validity to this theory, and it's not just based on the uncertainty for this year's team. The graphic to the right shows just how dramatically Belichick's Patriots teams improve throughout the season. That trend only has intensified in recent years. The Patriots started last year 3-3 before finishing 12-4. They started 2011 at 5-3 before winning their last eight games. They finished 2010 on an eight-game winning streak, too.’  
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