Tom Brady: New England Patriots
If we are going to start with New England, then we have to start with its patriarch, Tom Brady.
After escaping last season with a victory against Baltimore, Tom Brady took to the podium and told everybody the truth.
"Well, I sucked pretty bad today, but our defense saved us. And I'm going to try to go out and do a better job in a couple weeks."
Brady did "suck" pretty bad if you are comparing him to the Tom Brady we are used to seeing put up gaudy numbers each and every Sunday.
Brady's stat line last time around was quite ugly. Tom went 22 of 36 for 239 yards passing and tossed two interceptions to zero touchdowns. These numbers were a huge factor in why the game was so close.
Although Tom Terrific did manage to plunge in a rushing touchdown from one yard out on a crucial fourth down, overall he just wasn't himself.
Off balance, confused and pressured all night long. The Ravens defense made sure Brady felt their wrath.
That's why it goes without saying next week Tom Brady has got to be better if New England wants to walk away with a victory. The loss of Rob Gronkowski will hurt, but overall this Patriots team is better than the one we saw last season, and Tom Brady is better for it.
We all know Brady will face heat, and face it often. But if he manages to dictate the pace of the game and make the throws we are accustomed to seeing him make, Baltimore will have a very difficult time finding a way to win on Sunday.