6. New England Patriots (1)
Losing Julian Edelman for the entire season was obviously a crushing blow to the New England Patriots since the wideout has arguably been Tom Brady‘s favorite target over the years, but nobody could have predicted the outcome of Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. In a game where the Patriots were heavy favorites to defeat the defending AFC West champions, it was Bill Belichick‘s defense that was exposed, and made it clear the unit has plenty of areas in need of fixing before their Week 2 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Not only did New England’s defense allow Alex Smith to have a career game after the quarterback threw for 368 passing yards with four touchdowns, but rookie running back Kareem Hunt, who was just recently named the starter, finished the game with 246 yards from the line of scrimmage. And to top it off, the former Toledo standout found a way to shred the Patriots’ defense by making three trips into the end zone as well.
Obviously, this is New England, and there’s no reason to hit the panic button since it’s only one game, but the defense is still a reason for concern. While Brady will eventually become comfortable working with his new talent at wide receiver, it’s the defense that needs to make the necessary adjustments for the Patriots to have a chance at repeating as champions.