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

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos will franchise tag Demaryius Thomas

Marshawn Lynch on final SB play: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers acquire Keith Yandle from Coyotes

Report: Bucs to keep Vincent Jackson under current contract

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Twins to limit players' smartphone use on game days

Shane Battier: Carmelo Anthony is not that tough to guard

Ronda Rousey would be 'happy' to fight Cat Zingano again

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans after loss

Cowboys to let DeMarco Murray test free agency?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184, keeps MMA rumors alive

WATCH: Sidney Crosby gets leveled in open-ice hit

PHOTO: Pacquiao has message for Mayweather with t-shirt?

Nuggets break team huddle with countdown to end of season

WATCH: James Harden kicks LeBron in the groin

Jim Harbaugh tells Madonna he respects her toughness

Are the Oakland Raiders finally trending up?

Durant blasts Instagram hater for Westbrook comment

Three potential big signings the Steelers could make

Kevin Garnett buys 1,000 tickets for Timberwolves fans

Michigan fan has incredible Charles Woodson tattoo

WATCH: NIU C brings down basket on dunk

McCown plans to embrace mentoring role with Manziel

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

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos to franchise Demaryius

James Harden kicks LeBron in groin

Lynch: 'I was expecting the ball'

Report: Rangers get Yandle from Coyotes

Harbaugh respects Madonna's grit

Twins to limit game day cell phone use

Kevin Durant blasts hater on Instagram

KG buys 1,000 tickets for T-Wolves fans

Markieff Morris calls out Suns fans

Cowboys letting Murray test market?

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184

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.