The New England Patriots have had a busy free agency period since it began last Tuesday.
They have so far signed Cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, wide receiver Brandon LaFell, while also re-signing Julian Edelman.
Each signing, or re-signing, presents an upgrade to the Pats at each position that they play.
With Revis and Browner coming in, it will allow the Patriots to match up well with their opposition's best receivers in one-on-one coverage, something which only Aqib Talib was able to do for the Pats last season.
Their signings will also allow fellow corners Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan to be able to play more nickel coverage on the inside receivers, which will be a big advantage for the Pats when they take on a team like Denver who like to create mis-matches on offence.
Despite this, New England will have to hope that Revis is fully recovered from his torn ACL that he suffered in his last season with the New York Jets, while Browner stays away from any more trouble with drugs that will already see him miss the first four games of the 2014 regular season.
The biggest signing, though, may well be that of Edelman.
He had a break-out year in 2013, where he had 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns and, more importantly, became the favourite target of Tom Brady when Rob Gronkowski went down with a season-ending knee injury.
Add in LaFell, who has shown enough promise in Carolina to warrant a three-year contract, the return of Gronkowski and the expected development of rookies Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins, the Patriots could suddenly have a passing attack to rival that of Denver.
However, in the same period, they have lost cornerback Talib and linebacker Brandon Spikes.
Despite the losses, the Patriots have, at least on paper, made up some significant ground on the current AFC champion Broncos.
The Broncos have added Talib as well as safety T.J. Ward, linebacker DeMarcus Ware and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders this off season, which again on paper looks impressive but there are some major question marks regarding those signings.
There are questions as to whether Talib can show up on the big occasion, having seemingly gone missing or gotten hurt too many times for the Patriots' liking in his couple of years in Foxborough, while Ware is coming off arguably his worst season as a professional in 2013, posting career lows in tackles (40) and sacks (6) in a defence that was arguably the worst in the NFL last season.
Meanwhile Sanders, who nearly joined the Patriots last summer, was just allowed to walk by the receiver needy Pittsburgh Steelers, although like LaFell he has shown promise to warrant an opportunity in a far better offensive unit.
However, Denver lost a key piece to their offense when Eric Decker joined the Jets, rather than re-signing in the mile high city.
Overall, it is difficult to argue that the Patriots have not gotten a lot closer to where Denver were last season and should be able to make a run at one more SuperBowl in the Brady-Belichick era.
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