If the Patriots win their last 3 and get home field advantage (a tall order, @Miami and @BAL, not so much home vs. BUFF) I will argue that this has been the best coaching job ever by Belichick and the best season ever by Brady. It won't be Brady's best statistical season, but dealing with the loss of so many pro-bowl caliber starters and an entirely new receiving corps makes it borderline incredible.
I think that this is the weakest roster that the Patriots have fielded since 2002 and is not in the top half of the NFL based upon non-QB talent. 18 rookies or second year players, many undrafted, play significant minutes.
80% of the player loss has been due to injury, though other factors (a murdering scumbag) and a decision to move on from Welker and Woodhead have contributed.
These were IMO the Patriots 12 best players last year. #2,3,4,5,6,8,10,12 are gone for good this year. Many of their backups are gone as well.
2) Gronkowski- TE out, IR
3) Wilfork- NT out, IR. backup/DL Tommy Kelly- out, IR
4) Mayo- ILB out, IR
5) Welker- WR gone, salary dispute; replacement Amendola has missed half the season and is playing with a groin muscle "torn from the bone"
6) that TE who is now in jail
7) Ridley- RB active! but benched for fumbling...
8) Woodhead- RB gone, replaced by Vereen, has missed over half the year due to injury
9) Solder- LT is playing!
10) Vollmer- RT- out, IR
11) Talib- DB is playing, has missed many games with hip injury
12) Lloyd- WR retired to take up acting (!)