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Samsonite Make Your Case: Biggest concerns for the Patriots

Anytime you watch one team exclusively as we do the Patriots we examine every aspect and find every flaw. Things other teams around the NFL may scoff at can at times become the focal point for local chatter.

The Patriots are no doubt one of the most talented teams in football and are rightly perched atop many lists predicting potential Super Bowl champs. But that doesn't mean the team is flawless in every way, and that's what we're trying to examine this week.

While the team has already suffered a few injuries, most notably to Julian Edelman, there are also some areas that could use a boost. This week's Samsonite Make Your Case question is: What is the Patriots top concern heading into the season?

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PFW's Andy Hart says...

Pass rush

The uncertainty around the front seven would qualify as my main concern and wondering where the pass rush is going to come from is a huge part of that. The Patriots under Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia have proven they can scheme around shortcomings on defense in the past, but that's usually when dealing with a lot more veterans than the coaches currently have at their disposal. 

Trey Flowers had a nice finish to his season a year ago but he's the only thing close to a proven commodity on the edge. Maybe Dont'a Hightower will produce if given the chance on the outside, but that's by no means a given.

The Patriots are talented enough that it won't likely matter most weeks but at some point they will need to bring the heat and I'm not sure where it will come from.
- AH

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PFW's Paul Perillo says...

Offensive line

The offensive line's ability to protect Tom Brady is always my top concern and this season is no different. Last year in the playoffs the group up front struggled in pass protection in two of the three postseason games and as a result an inferior Houston team hung around in the divisional round and the Patriots were forced to make history in the Super Bowl coming back against the Falcons.

Whenever Brady is comfortable in the pocket the Patriots offense is virtually unstoppable. It won't be an issue every week because few teams are talented enough to bring the heat without blitzing, but at some point, probably in the playoffs, the offensive line is going to have to deal with a strong rush.

At that point the unit's performance can be the difference between advancing and going home.
- PP

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