The 2008 New England Patriots were supposed to come back from their perfect regular season the year before and dominate the NFL again. The "golden boy" Tom Brady was supposed to get back in the saddle again and ride the juggernaut back to the Super Bowl. However, during the first half of week one, the plans got changed along the way. When Kansas City Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard went for the sack on Brady, his knee buckled along with the expectations for Patriots fans everywhere. However, much to their surprise, Matt Cassell stepped in and took over admirably for Brady. He guided them to an 11-5 record and barely missed the playoffs. How will the 2009 version of the Patriots look? If you want free NFL picks mark this down. The Patriots will win the division this year and make a deep run in the playoffs.
The Good News: The best news of anything is that Tom Brady is back. He has rehabbed his injury and is supposedly 100% and ready to go for the season. It might take a little bit to get his timing back, but after a game or two, he should be back to normal. While Matt Cassell did a fantastic job learning on the job, its hard to replace a future Hall of Fame quarterback. His presence will give the team back the confidence that they need.
As far as off-season movement goes, they made a few good acquisitions as well. Bringing in Fred Taylor was an underrated move that will help out the running game immensely. They haven't had a consistent running back since Corey Dillon and it will be nice to have another player in the same mold. Yes, he's on the tail end of his career, but he still has some gas in the tank. He has been one of the healthiest running backs as of late and can provide some nice runs. This will make the offense even more dynamic as they won't have to rely solely on the passing game.
The Bad News: There isn't anything that will be particularly crippling to the Patriots as far as who they lost. With that being said, they lost some valuable players in the off-season. Matt Cassell proved that he has the goods at quarterback. While they've got Brady back, who knows what could happen. He could go down in week 1 again and then who will play quarterback? Cassell went to Kansas City along with a great leader on defense Mike Vrabel. Vrabel is at the end of his career, but his leadership will be sorely missed in the linebacking unit. They also lost another leader on defense in Rodney Harrison. He was slowing down a lot and this might actually help the level of play on the field. However, his leadership is an intangible that will not easily be replaced.
Outlook: As far as free NFL betting picks go, this might be the easiest one out there. The Patriots will rebound to win the division this year and quite possibly the Super Bowl.