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Preview – The New England Patriots

The New England Patriots put together an impressive 14-2 record, which was the best regular season record in the NFL last year. With Bill Belichick still returning as head coach, and Tom Brady on schedule following a January 20th procedure to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, the Patriots will be favorites to win the AFC East again.

The Patriots are projected to finish with an 11-5 mark for the 2011-12 season, but that should still be good enough to win the AFC East and give the Pats an 88% probability of post season play. With Brady and Belichick, it’s hard to imagine the Pats not making the playoffs.

Rookie tight-end Aaron Hernandez was a revelation last season, as the former Florida Gator quickly became one of Tom Brady’s favorite targets. Hernandez caught 45 passes, scored 6 TDs, and averaged 12.5 yards/catch. Only Wes Welker had more receiving TDs than Hernandez, and Hernandez was 3rd on the team in receptions and receiving yards. Entering his 2nd season at Foxboro, the Pats have high hopes for the last year’s 4th round pick.

Projected Record: 11-5

Projected Division Finish: 1 of 4

Probability of Winning Division: 72%

Probability of Making Playoffs:  88%