Provided the defense improves, which usually happens down the stretch with BB, this team has a good shot for post season play. The other contenders are Indy, Jax, SD and the NYJ. IMO Indy will finish 10-6, Jax 9-7, SD 8-8, NYJ 8-8. If the Pats beat Denver they will be in solid position to seize one of the two WCs. On another point, this season is a great opportunity to evaluate the Patriot's true talent level. For some time, Brady's excellence has disguised creeping weaknesses on the rest of the roster. Now the safety blanket is gone, and players and coaches are forced to demonstrate their true value. This is a positive in the long run, once Tom returns. Areas of need, overrated and underrated players are being exposed by Brady's absence. No longer can the defense be frontrunners, playing from ahead in advantageous situations all season. No longer can the O-line look forward to Brady bailing them out, or consistent 2nd and shorts. No longer can rbs expect defenses in permanent dime packages. After 2002, it was obvious that the decks had to be cleared on defense before commencing another march to glory. Similarly, regardless of this season's outcome, the front office will have all the evidence it needs to accurately evaluate this team's talent for 2009 and beyond.