|ESPN.com: New England Patriots||[Print without images]|
"They will be better even if their record doesn't show it. Winning 12 games last season was a remarkable achievement for a team that subtracted both starting tight ends, slot receiver Wes Welker, tackle Sebastian Vollmer, both defensive tackles, inside linebacker Jerod Mayo and others. To reach 12 victories, the Patriots had to go 6-1 in games decided by three or fewer points. They shouldn't need so many narrow escapes as they get healthier in 2014. New England also will have time to reset its offensive weaponry after Aaron Hernandez's sudden demise blindsided them at the last minute in 2013."In filling out his list with the 49ers, Browns, Rams and Falcons, Sando looks at everything from players returning from injury to volume of draft picks, salary cap space, and impending free agents.