4 Reasons Why The New England Patriots Will NOT Make The Playoffs

The New England Patriots returned to the mountaintop by winning the Super Bowl last year, but they've had as rough of an offseason as anyone. Is this the year the "Patriot Way" finally wears off? Here are four reaons why the Patriots won't even make the playoffs this year:

4) Improved AFC East

The Dolphins, Jets, and Bills both made HUGE improvements this offseason, while the Patriots only lost key players. They won't be able to just cruise through the division like they have in years past, which will have a negative impact on their record.

3) Tom Brady's suspension

At this point, we don't know how long Brady's suspension will be - or if he'll even be suspended - but if he's forced to miss any amount of time, we know the Patriots will suffer. Jimmy Garoppolo may have potential, but he'll undoubtedly have major struggles in his first real regular season action. The Patriots won't win every game once they get Brady back, so those losses that will come with Garoppolo at QB will really come back to haunt them.

2) Lack of consistent rushing attack

New England didn't have a single player rush for more that 412 yards last season, and their biggest threat out of the backfield, Shane Vereen, is now with the Giants. The Patriots are relying on LeGarrette Blount and Jonas Gray to carry the load, but they combined for less than 700 yards last year. No Tom Brady and no running game means bad, bad things for the Patriots' offense.

1) Defensive losses

Vince Wilfork is gone. Darrelle Revis is gone. Brandon Browner is gone. Yet, New England isn't expected to lose a step because we're so used to Bill Belichick replacing older players before their decline (Wilfork) or who want too much money (Revis, Browner) with capable players. However, having to replace two of the best cornerbacks in the game AND arguably the league's best run-stopper at the same time will make any team take a step back.

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