By Brent Schwartz, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) — After an unusually aggressive offseason that saw the Super Bowl champion Patriots make big-name signings and trade away their top draft picks for established players, expectations are as lofty as ever.

On Monday, USA Today took those high expectations to another level. The outlet officially predicted that the Patriots will go 16-0 in the regular season, then defeat the Chargers, Raiders, and Packers in the NFL Playoffs to complete the first-ever 19-0 season.

This comes a week after Julian Edelman called the 19-0 talk “stupid” when asked about it at a youth football camp. If the Patriots are to pull off the perfect season, it will of course rest mostly on the shoulders of soon-to-be-40-year-old quarterback Tom Brady.

Brady does look more than ready for the challenge, however, as he took to Instagram Monday morning to express his excitement to report to training camp – which officially starts on Thursday.

A few weeks ago, Brady invited Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola to Montana to practice on his man-made football field on his property in the mountain west. But they aren’t the only Patriots putting in work as the season nears, as Rob Gronkowski posted a video of himself and former Patriot Stevan Ridley to his own Instagram.

Sweaty Sweaty 💦 🌳

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

Gronkowski is primed to join Brady in a few days as the Patriots take the field for camp. The Patriots are certainly aiming to win their third Super Bowl in four seasons for the second time this century, which could still come with a few regular season losses along the way. But USA Today apparently believes that a perfect season is a virtual certainty.

98.5 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand and Adam Jones, who filled in for Scott Zolak, discussed the USA Today story and the possibility of a Patriots 19-0 season during the Zolak & Bertrand show on Tuesday. Listen to the full podcast above!

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