The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots had an extremely tumultuous offseason both on and off the field.
Quarterback Tom Brady had his four-game suspension for his involvement in the Deflategate controversy upheld on July 28, leaving New England’s offense in the hands of second-year quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to start the season.
New England is also dealing with a mass exodus of talent from its Super Bowl team, mainly on the defensive side of the ball. The Patriots lost both starting cornerbacks, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, to free agency. Kyle Arrington and Alfonzo Dennard also will no longer be part of the New England secondary. In the middle of the defense, nose tackle Vince Wilfork and middle linebacker Akeem Ayers left for other teams as well.
Ultimately, Bill Belichick's ability to plug-and-play unheralded players will be put to the test, something Belichick has succeeded with in the past. This time, however, Belichick may not have the safety net of Brady for a quarter of the season.
Thursday, Aug. 13: Packers vs. Patriots (7:30 p.m. ET, WBZ/Patriots Preseason Network)
Saturday, Aug. 22: Patriots vs. Saints (7:30 p.m. ET, WBZ/Patriots Preseason Network)
Friday, Aug. 28: Patriots vs. Panthers (7:30 p.m. ET, WBZ/Patriots Preseason Network)
Thursday, Sept. 3: Giants vs. Patriots (7:30 p.m. ET, WBZ/Patriots Preseason Network)