Next Time Set Yourself on Fire, Buffalo—Melt Tom Brady's Ice-Water Veins

Joe Burgett Senior Writer IIISeptember 15, 2009

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots passes the ball as Marcus Stroud #99 of the Buffalo Bills defends on September 14, 2009 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Bills 25-24.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Monday Night Football is back.

Well, technically MNF had already been back during the preseason, but seriously, who likes to watch the preseason? I personally want to watch the game when it counts. So, I marked my calendar for Sept. 14, 2009.

Now, one matchup I was dying to see was Buffalo vs. New England.

Last year, I would mark this down as probably a Patriots' win. I mean, the Bills didn't look great last year. Trent Edwards was getting his feet under him, and while he was improving vastly, he was not as good as the Bills needed him to be.

Lee Evans is a great wideout, but he was really the only receiving option for the Bills. So, once Terrell Owens arrived, I was very happy. It gives the Bills two great receiving options along with the running game that could be great once Marshawn Lynch gets back from suspension.

I felt that New England was going to look great this year now that Tom Brady was back, but it looked as if Buffalo's offense was killing a Patriots' defense that's missing a ton of playmakers.

Rodney Harrison, Teddy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, and Mike Vrabel are all gone from that Patriots' once-mighty defense. This is not great for the Patriots because every man I just mentioned controlled that defense. They were captains and leaders, and now none are there.

So even though the Pats have one of the best coaches of all time in Bill Belichick, even he couldn't get his defense back to the way it once was so quickly.

They also lost Jerod Mayo, who was basically the guy taking Bruschi's spot. So, you have five men out from New England's past defense that were there during the dynasty years. Mayo just arrived for one, but, he was still experienced, and someone the Pats needed to have on the field.

Brandon Meriweather is also a guy that needs to step up, and while he made a huge play toward the end of the game to help the Pats win, he didn't do as well in coverage.

My hat is off to the Bills, because they played great. However, the Bills didn't beat the Pats at the perfect time to do so. Everything I just mentioned was going against the Pats, yet the Bills still lost.

They were ahead by two scores with just five minutes remaining and fell apart, while Brady came on toward the end like usual.

I hope he can do that in the beginning of the game from now on; that way he won't have to come back and save the Pats. He was off in the first half, and this team does not look like it did in the 2007-08 undefeated regular season.

This team looks like it can make the playoffs, but, for now, there are other teams like the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and others who could possibly get to the Super Bowl.

The team must play better on both sides of the ball because if they play the way they did last night against the teams I mentioned previously, they are going to lose.

We are so used to seeing this New England team run all over people when Brady is in the game. But he also had a great defense to rely on from the beginning of his career. Now that this defense is not as good as it once was, Brady has to step up even more than he has before.

While that seems like an easy thing for Brady to do—because, let's face it, he has ice-water for veins—it's still a tall task. Nothing rattles him whatsoever, and that showed last night in the comeback win over the Bills, but even he needs help from the defense.

Now that the bigtime leaders of this time are gone from the defense, people such as Mayo, Derrick Burgess, Vince Wilfork, and Meriweather are going to have to take over.

If they don't, this team, even with Brady, has no shot at the Super Bowl. All of these other teams such as the Ravens and Steelers have a good defense and an equally good offense.

I am as big a fan of Brady as anyone, but he has never had a team this vulnerable in his entire pro career. Right now, the offense needs to step up and get things going, which I can see happening as the season goes on.

But, the defense is the biggest question mark of all. This team may win its division, if it is lucky, but the Super Bowl looks more in doubt than ever before.