After Sunday’s 51-17 thrashing of the Jacksonville Jaguars (the most points ever allowed by the Jaguars) at Gillette Stadium the talk has started. Is this year’s New England Patriot team capable of finishing what they started, but couldn’t finish, in 2007? Miami fans are hoping not…Mercury Morris is pacing the floor…Don Shula is preparing his Bill Belicheat speech..and Patriot fans are wondering could lightening strike again.
Pull In The Reigns
As much as fans want to dream about the possibility, it is way too early to even think about it. The 2007 team started with three impressive victories over the Jets (38-14), Chargers (38-14) and Bills (38-7). That team held every opponent to less then 30 points up until the final weekend of the regular season, when they defeated the Giants 38-34. Looking back many fans are wondering if New England would have done better in the play-offs by losing that game. The pressure of an undefeated season through the playoffs is intense and a loss would have eased that extra burden…ah, but I digress. (Read Jake Mackey’s article “Be Careful What You Wish For” for more on that)
2015 looks pretty good after 3 games, but the big difference between 2007 and now is DEFENSE! Although this year’s Pats have no Randy Moss, they do have Rob Gronkowski and both teams showed the ability to rack up big numbers on offense. In fact they have outscored the Brady-Moss combination 119 -114. Unfortunately, in the process they have allowed 57 points compared to 35. Yes, many of the points allowed have been in garbage time, but the defense is still a big question mark, especially in the secondary.
Last year at this time we were all wondering if Tom Brady was capable of another play-off run at the “old” age of 37. Now, in his 16th season, like a fine wine, he seems to have improved with age. Need some stats to back that up? How about this:
- A quarterback rating of 119.6,
- Tom Terrific has thrown for 9 TDs with 0 (as in zero) interceptions
- He leads all NFL QBs with 1112 yards in the first 3 games
- Sunday he became just the fourth QB in NFL history to throw 400 touchdown passes, racking up two more in the lopsided victory.
Brady is playing behind a young offensive line that has outperformed expectations and he has helped with his lightening quick release. Although sacked 6 times, many have been caused by close coverage by defenses and, in almost every case, he has had a chance to be prepared for the sack and gone down without hard contact.
Even The Haters Are Converting
It seems like everyone, even the haters, have accepted that this year’s team could be special. On the NFL Channel this Sunday Marshall Faulk, who still thinks the Patriots cheated the Rams out of Super Bowl XXXVI, shocked his audience by predicting the Patriots would not lose their first game until week 14 when they play the Texans on the road. How’s this for a backhanded compliment – Houston will win because they are led by a management team that learned how to win from (you guessed it) … the New England Patriots.
Enjoying The Bye-Week
It will be too long before the Patriots travel to Dallas to take on the depleted Cowboys, so here are a few suggestions for next Sunday when the team has their early bye-week:
- Check out the rest of the teams the Patriots play later this year
- Shut the TV off all day and enjoy some quality time with friends and family
- How about a movie? When was the last time you went to a Sunday matinee
- Go leaf peeping in Vermont for some gorgeous foliage…be sure to take a camera
- Make your spouse happy with a nice, long brunch at her/his favorite bistro. No need to rush home for the game
I’m sure you can think of more, but…none will live up to watching the 2015 New England Patriots!
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