Originally written on Cippin on Sports  |  Last updated 11/20/14

The New England Patriots came within two minutes of a Super Bowl last season but the franchise had serious work to do to improve for the 2012 NFL season. The defense let up huge plays last year and needed widespread fixes while the offense still needed a big downfield wide receiving threat. After the off-season, it looks like the Patriots hit all their team needs and will be the top contenders for the NFL Super Bowl.

On defense, Chandler Jones and Donta Hightower, their two top draft picks, will really strengthen the pass rush. Jones is a pass rushing specialist and the hybrid defensive end-outside linebacker position while Hightower was the most talented linebacker in college football and will bring both stability to the interior of the defense and quarterback pressure. At the back of the defense, the Patriots are big believers in skilled, tough hitting safety Tavon Wilson.

On offense, the Patriots now have several downfield receiving weapons. In addition to short, mid, and slot-range receiving weapons Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, New England added downfield threats Anthony Gonzalez (the former Colt and Peyton Manning’s second favorite target before Gonzalez’s injuries) and Brandon Lloyd (who has thrived in coordinator Josh McDaniel’s offense). It’s an offense that will air it out and crush many hapless NFL teams.

So, it looks like the Patriots are ready for the coming season!

This article was written by Paul Grossinger


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Stephen Curry to be named NBA MVP

Milwaukee Brewers fire manager Ron Roenicke

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Chip Kelly: Tim Tebow is here to compete for a job

Report: Nigel Williams-Goss transferring to Gonzaga

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Philly store offering Eagles 'jersey insurance'

Chris Paul listed as questionable for Game 1 vs. Rockets

Mayweather beats Pacquiao by unanimous decision

Did Evan Mathis respond to Chip Kelly's slight with barb?

WATCH: American Pharoah wins Kentucky Derby

Report: Rams trade RB Zac Stacy to Jets

Here's why Mayweather-Pacquiao was business as usual

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

WATCH: Tony Allen walks through children performing, gets booed

Lindsey Vonn and Tiger Woods have broken up

WATCH: Two games end with baserunners hit by batted balls

WATCH: Damian Lilliard delivers great graduation speech

Jets do not envision Bryce Petty starting in 2015

Clippers beat Spurs on Chris Paul shot in Game 7

Jimmy Kimmel's Manny Pacquiao T-shirt goes viral

Big fight packs airport, leaves no room for planes

Pete Carroll discusses Russell Wilson's contract status

Jim Harbaugh not happy Lou Holtz is out at ESPN

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Drafted player changes Twitter name to ‘Pick 245′

Floyd Mayweather Punch Out mock video game is great

Report: Steph Curry to be NBA MVP

Kelly: Tebow here to compete for job

Tony Allen booed for being rude?

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods break up

Pacquiao fought with injured shoulder?

Winners and losers from the NFL draft

Report: Zac Stacy traded to Jets

Hardy apologizes for joke about 9/11

Jerry Jones sends letter to Pacquiao

Mayweather bans Beadle, Nichols

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.