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What might first four Patriots games look like with Jimmy Garoppolo?

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When news broke Monday that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games by the NFL, the assignment was relayed: Could you go back to your initial game-by-game predictions and project how things might be different with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback?

Sure thing.

But before we go there, let's relay what Bill Belichick said about Garoppolo back in December.

“Jimmy has worked hard and consistently improved every week,” Belichick said. “He’s running different offenses with the scout team and having to keep up with what we are doing and our installation and our game plan on a weekly basis. He’s been durable, healthy, out there every day, keeps getting better. He’s been better and has a better understanding of the league.”

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels also commented on Garoppolo after his extended playing time in the season finale.

"The operating-the-offense portion of playing quarterback, I thought he did OK, in terms of getting in and out of the huddle, getting the guys in the right spot for the most part," McDaniels said. "I think there is an element of toughness that you saw from him that was good. He got hit and made some runs that showed some toughness there, which was good to see from him. He's going to have to learn you've got to get rid of the ball on time, and you obviously can't take sacks or negative plays in the wrong types of situations, or it really puts us behind the eight ball. Plenty to learn from."

As for our predictions, we initially had the Patriots at 2-2 through the first four games.

We're sticking with that while lowering some of the point totals.

Week 1: Thursday, Sept. 10, vs. Pittsburgh, 8:30 p.m.

Would the Patriots consider waiting to unveil their Super Bowl championship banner until Brady returns? One group on Twitter -- #NoBradyNoBanner -- is hoping to generate some grassroots momentum for that option. With months to get Garoppolo ready for action, the coaching staff will tailor the offense to his strengths and move him out of the pocket at times to take advantage of his mobility. Patriots 24, Steelers 21. Record: 1-0.

Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

This was viewed as a tough matchup, even with Brady. First-year Bills coach Rex Ryan will probably throw the book at Garoppolo, sending pressure from all angles. Bills 20, Patriots 10. Record: 1-1.

Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, vs. Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Garoppolo (62nd overall pick in 2014) versus Blake Bortles (third overall pick in 2014) has some up-and-coming appeal and will provide a snapshot to gauge the quarterbacks' development against each other. Bortles was the first quarterback selected last year, while Garoppolo was the fifth. Patriots 23, Jaguars 17. Record: 2-1.

Week 4: Bye

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, at Dallas, 4:25 p.m.

Under Belichick, the Patriots are 11-4 after the bye, and this one is well-timed to help adjust and correct anything that surfaces in the first three games. AT&T Stadium seats around 80,000. O'Brien Stadium at Eastern Illinois, where Garoppolo played in college, has a capacity of 10,000. Cowboys 24, Patriots 21. Record: 2-2.