Does anyone remember how exciting 81 vs. 81 was two years ago? Well, now they're in the same division, and they're opening the 2009 season on Monday Night Football.
Thankfully for Patriots fans, most of the media-induced drama will take place in Buffalo. Randy Moss has been much more inconspicuous since coming to New England, but nobody is expecting Owens to arrive in Buffalo and just get down to business.
There will be much talk about the relationship between Owens and his new quarterback Trent Edwards. Owens will do his best to bait Moss into a media frenzy, but in the end...they'll both be showcasing their abilities on the gridiron at least twice a year, which is just plain great for football.
The Bills and Patriots have faced each other seven times in week one. Buffalo currently has beaten New England four of those seven times, including a 31-0 shellacking back in 2003. The Patriots have to be the early favorite in the 2009 opener, but the health of QB Tom Brady will be a major factor as we get closer to September.
In other news, the Patriots have been awarded three compensatory picks in this year's draft, including a third rounder, fifth rounder, and a sixth rounder. New England now has six selections in the top 100. They have their first round pick, three second round picks, and two third round picks.
Something tells me Bill Belichick still has some serious wheelin 'n' dealin to do before draft day, with all of those picks available. One thing to remember though is that compensatory picks cannot be traded.
The idea of Julius Peppers being traded to New England (which was recently made to sound like a more serious proposition by Vic Carucci of NFL Network), has been tossed around quite a bit in the last few weeks. The truth is that these talks can't have much weight, since Peppers hasn't yet signed his franchise tender.
The Patriots and Panthers cannot discuss such a dealing until he does.
I will keep my ear to the wire, and you'll be the first to know how that situation progresses in the near future.
'Til next time...