New England Patriots: Why This Team Is More Suited for Title Than the 2007 Team
The memories of 2007 are still fresh in the minds of all New England Patriots' fans.
The majority of fans and experts were expecting the Patriots to roll through the Giants on their way to a 19-0 season. We all know that things didn't go their way.
There are only a few faces left from that 2007 roster. For the most part the Patriots now rely on a new set of faces both on offense and defense.
Even though the 2007 Patriots were one of the best offenses ever assembled, this Patriots' team may be better suited to win a Super Bowl.
Here are five reasons why.
The Tight Ends
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Two of the best additions to the Patriots' roster since 2007 have been tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Rob Gronkowski has become one of the best tight ends in football. He shattered several single season tight ends records this season and is one of the most physically imposing forces in the league. His size and skill set makes him a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Aaron Hernandez takes the backseat to "Gronk," but he may be just as dangerous. Hernandez is essentially a huge wide receiver. He has great hands and is incredibly quick for a tight end.
This duo makes up the best set of tight ends in the league.
Tom Brady loves using these guys in a variety of ways.
"Gronk" is a force anywhere on the field, but his bread and butter is in the red zone. We have seen Hernandez used as not only a receiver, but as a running back as well. Both will have to be accounted for come Super Bowl Sunday.
The Running Backs
The Patriots' starting running back in 2007 was Laurence Maroney.
Now New England will be bringing in three capable running backs.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be your starter and your grinder. He is the team's best power back and put together a great performance against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game. He isn't flashy, but he gets the job done in short yardage situations.
Danny Woodhead is a classic underdog story. He is a small back that was cut from the Jets' roster last year and ended up on the Patriots. Woodhead is a dangerous weapon in passing situations both as a runner and a receiver.
Stevan Ridley is the impressive rookie in this trio. He was inactive the AFC Championship game due to his fumbling issues, but he has otherwise been an impact runner for the Patriots. Ridley will likely be active for the Super Bowl and is one of the few backs that can create on his own.
The Patriots' backfield lacks a star performer, but all of these guys together make for a respectable rushing attack.
They Are No Longer the Huge Favorites
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The biggest difference between 2007 and this year is no one is on the Patriots' bandwagon right now.
Everyone was predicting the Patriots to win in 2007. Even those who picked the Giants seemed to be doing so just to be a contrarian.
Bill Belichick does such a good job of not letting his team get caught up in their own hype. He does his best to keep them motivated and keep them hungry. Every Patriot is expected to respect their opponent and play them as if they were their toughest opponent of the season.
However, I believe in 2007 New England got caught up in their own hype.
How could they not?
They were on the verge of becoming the greatest team of all time. If no one is telling you that you are going to lose, it is hard to believe that you will.
This Patriots' team has been doubted all year long. There have been countless times where the experts have claimed that New England just can't win with that defense.
The Patriots go in to this Super Bowl with a chip on their shoulder and that is exactly what they need.
They've Already Lost to the Giants
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It is very difficult to beat anyone in the NFL, but it is incredibly difficult to beat them two times in a row.
Now imagine trying to beat a team the caliber of the New England Patriots three times in a row.
This is for many reasons.
First, a rematch against a team earlier in the year gives you a big advantage. You know what to expect of them. You've seen what they have to offer and it makes the game planning much easier.
Second, you won't make the same mistakes you made the first time. Often times we have seen games come down to a few key mistakes or strategy adjustments. It is easier to recognize those and make the necessary corrections the second time around.
Look at the New York Giants.
It is certainly possible for the Giants to do it, but the odds are against them.
I know some of you are probably confused right now.
I am well aware that Tom Brady was on the 2007 Patriots' roster. I am also aware that he put together his best season in that year. So how could he possibly be better suited to win a Super Bowl now than he was in 2007-2008?
The answer lies in what drives Tom Brady as a competitor and as a professional football player.
Brady's entire career has been driven by the fact he has been overlooked since college. We all know the story of his college career at Michigan and having to outplay Drew Henson. We all know the story of "The Brady Six" and how motivated he was to become the starter after being drafted with the 199th overall pick.
Since day one, Brady has had a chip on his shoulder that appeared as if it would never go away.
In 2007 we saw him destroy NFL defenses. It was incredibly impressive and possibly the greatest season by any quarterback ever. However, it was missing that chip.
After a couple heart breaking first round exits, the old Tom Brady is back.
Even in the AFC Championship game where he didn't play his best football, he did what they needed to win. He had no problem putting his body on the line when the Patriots needed it.
Brady is tired of hearing about his first round exits and whether or not he has lost that fire.
The fire is still burning and this Tom Brady is ready to win another Super Bowl.