The Pats 2007 schedule at original look, appeared to be pretty tough. But not so much any more. Home: Steelers, Bolts, Eagles, Giants, Redskins, and the AFCE Bills, Jets, and Phish Away: Ravens, Bengals, Colts, Cowboys, Giants and the AFCE Bills, Jets and Phish. There is no western trip further than Dallas. The toughest games will be against the Bolts (home) and Colts (away). But the next tier are Eagles (home) and then perhaps the Ravens (away, and Bengals (away). Now that the 2006 Playoffs are complete, Coaches have been fired and hired, we can inspect and judge which teams are going to be tougher, and those that may be weaker than this year due to whatever reasons. The Bolts come to Foxboro; as do the Eagles and Steelers These are very good teams, with the possible exception of the Steelers under going some re-organization. Remember that no Coach except Paul Brown, has won a title in his first year. His was an exception as all the other clubs in the AAFC, were new as well; so no one had experience. Better in 2007: Bolts - experience for Rivers; ILB shakeup coming, will be disruptive; Marty on thin ice? lots of talent maybe it matures Bills - experience for Losman, D, and OL maybe better; Bills - secondary losses; Clements has no franchise option in contract, Fletcher replaced, D weaker? Eagles- McNabb back; WRs settle in, maybe another RB to help Browns - better but from low level to merely .500 Staying the same in 2007: Bengals - gnagsta losses; can they bear down; off of history, NO! Steelers - Roth healthy but need receivers, and RB, new Coach will be disruptive for a while Jets - EM won't sneak up and has tougher schedule Jets - Penny still is limited, little better but worse record Giants - No Tiki, No love for Coughlin, No QB in Eli? Colts - Team will be raided; CAP problems, incentives gone, Harrison aging, probably just good, not Great Going down in 2007: Ravens - McNair looked old this year; D is aging, as is OLT Cowboys - No Tuna, TO disrupts in Yr 2 if history is guide; no QB! Phish - No Nick, aging D, no OL, going down. Phish - Down, down, & down some more! Skins - Time to Pay the Piper; no talent, no depth, no CAP, no nuthing! Looking at this schedule, the toughest games rate to be the Bolts, Indy, Philly and only then maybe Bengals. Two home, one away. Bolts and Colts have questions. Can LT have another career year? Will the Bolts solve ILB problem replacing both Godfrey and Edwards who are an older and more decrepit pair than Bruschi and Vrabel? Can Marty maintain discipline as a lame duck? With Colts CAP problems and only $5.5 million CAP space, how do you keep Freeney, June, Morris, and RFAs Lilja and Scott? Plus a bundle of depth RFAs? Pick one, sign him & lose the rest? Harrison showed signs of not being the best receiver in the league at 36 anymore. The Eagles look to be better if they can find some depth at RB. They have everything else. lucky fro them and Pats, NFCEast is crashing around them as Cowboys and Giants go down to join the Redskins. TO fever has had a year to die out, now infects the Cowboys. Pats rate to win 2 lose 1. Call it a split, but I suspect 3-1 including the Bengals. For Bills, Bills, Browns, Jets, Jets, Giants and Steelers, the only game in question should be the Steelers game, but it is at home. Could be a sweep. For the teams going down there should be three of five looking for #1 draft pick in 2008; Others have shot their wad. You can't win without a QB, and Ravens and Cowboys don't have any. Romo who? As for the Patriots? Will they be better in 2007 than 2006? Line backing should and will be bolstered by additions, both FAs and draftees, and are the last piece of the puzzle to be the strongest club of the Belichick era. Present WRs will settle in, with another TC. Offensive line will have two third year experienced starters, and a Sophomore. No rookie and still no one over thirty and lots of proven depth. LM and CJ will no longer be rookies, might be better. The majortiy of the offesne should be just entering their primes. Other draftees can bolster team too from upcoming "double draft". Net net? Fourteen and two projection for 2007, versus projection of 12-4 this past re-building year. HFA and a bye at least, and maybe #1 seed. Inside track for Lombardi #4 in early 2008, likely playing Eagles or Bears. Comments?