ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton projects win totals for each NFL team, dissecting every schedule and potential pitfalls along the way. His projection for the Patriots: 12-4, which had AFC East reporter James Walker playing the "more or less" game.
The 12-win total ties with the Packers for the highest Clayton's projections.
"On paper, this year's team should be even better than the 2011 version," Clayton opines.
OUR TAKE: Back in April, in our annual we'll-laugh-at-you-later season predictions (link here), the projection was 13-3 for the Patriots. And that was before the Ravens (a game penciled in as a loss) learned they'd be without game-changing outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. That was also before a draft in which the Patriots went almost exclusively defensive, which was the primary need (link here). So given all those factors, there's no desire to move off the 13-3 pick at this time. The Patriots look loaded and ready to contend.