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Early scouting report: New England Patriots

The Sun will take a look at all 13 of the Ravens' 2010 opponents. Today's early scouting report is on the New England Patriots, the Ravens’ opponent in Week 6:

Head coach: Bill Belichick (163-97 overall record)

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2009 record: 10-6

Biggest addition: DL Damione Lewis. Sure, New England added Torry Holt, but he is only expected to be the No. 3 WR. Lewis, an underachiever throughout his career, is expected to take over for Jarvis Green at right defensive end.

Key loss: OLB Adalius Thomas. The former Raven never lived up to expectations in Belichick's defense and often publicly clashed with the head coach. It's now an open competition for that spot. Second-round pick Jermaine Cunningham seems to be an early favorite, but Derrick Burgess should also figure into the mix.

Question mark: When will Welker be ready to play? He was running at offseason practices without a limp, only months after having knee surgery (Feb. 2). But there is a chance that Welker will start the season on the physically unable to perform list, which would sideline him for the first six weeks of the season. Julian Edelman is the likely replacement, but speedy second-year WR Brandon Tate is the dark horse.

Projected 2010 finish: 11-5, first in the AFC East. The demise of the Patriots is a little premature. An aging New England roster got injected with four impact rookies: Cunningham, CB Devin McCourty and TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. And never count out a healthy QB Tom Brady, who can still carry a team to the top of the division.

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