Expectations are always high in Boston as the defending Super Bowl champions looked to repeat under their head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. 2014 marked the year that the Patriots snapped a two-game losing streak in Super Bowl appearances and in 2015 fans were looking forward to see them back in contention again.
The Patriots lost several members of their 2014 Super Bowl team, although they did pick up three notable free agents Scott Chandler, Dion Lewis, and Jabaal Sheard. Bill Belichick had a well established routine of getting the most out of the players he puts on the field and added to that number by getting Malcom Brown, a defensive tackle from Texas to lead off the draft picks.
The Patriots split their four preseason games, losing to the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants, but beating the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers. The question going into the seasons was weather the Patriots could avoid injuries to their older, established players in order to reach the Super Bowl once again.
The Patriots won their first three games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills, and Jacksonville Jaguars before entering the bye week. The early bye week had no effect at least on the scoreboard as the Patriots emerged to rout the Dallas Cowboys 30 – 6 and then rip off six more wins in a row against the Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, New York Giants and finishing up against the Buffalo Bills to go 10 – 0 for the season and having some dreaming of the 2008 undefeated run they enjoyed before getting beat by the New York Giants in the Super Bowl that year.
However, those dreams were gone when they lost back-to-back games against the Denver Broncos in overtime and the Philadelphia Eagles where it appeared that the wheels were coming off the season. Injuries robbed the Patriots of having experienced deep threats on offense and the team was seemingly sputtering at the wrong time. In addition, there was a feeling that the older players were starting to show their age while their competition was gunning to take them down.
Still, the Patriots rebounded with wins against the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans before losing to their division rivals New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. The final two losses robbed the Patriots of gaining home field advantage through the playoffs as they had lost to Denver which finished with an identical record.
The Patriots finished the regular season at 12 – 4 for the fourth straight year, beating out the Cincinnati Bengals to earn a first round bye for the upcoming playoffs. By winning the AFC East for the seventh time in a row, they tied the 1979 Los Angeles Rams for winning the most division titles in a row.
With the bye week, the Patriots hope to rest and recover so that they can be fresh and ready for the Divisional round. The hope in Boston is that the Patriots can capture the magic that had won them the Super Bowl last year.