These days, there sure are a lot of questions in the NFL: Does Brett FavreBrett Favre have another run left in the tank? Can the Saints repeat as champs? Are the Jets going to live up to all of their hype? Can anyone in the AFC take down Peyton ManningPeyton Manning and the Colts? Will the Cowboys be the first home team to host the Super Bowl? Can T.O. and Chad OchocincoChad Ochocinco coexist with only one football to go around?... And the list goes on. And yet, somehow, everyone seems to have forgotten to ask one very important question: what does coach Bill BelichickBill Belichick have up his sleeve?
Was 2007 so long ago that everyone has forgotten about the Patriots' being one miracle play away from the first perfect season since 1972? This team is only two seasons removed from being regarded by many sports writers as the greatest team ever assembled. This is a team of hungry individuals and champion leadership that seems to be healthy for the first time since their storied run at glory.
QB Tom BradyTom Brady is finally at 100 percent and in a contract year. Wes WelkerWes Welker is back in the fold and ready to catch and run like we all know he can. Randy Moss is still as championship-driven as he has ever been, with reports from Patriots' camp saying that he's even faster off the line than he was the last two years. Still, this team has managed to slip through the cracks and fly undetected through training camp.
In Friday night's preseason game against the Falcons, it was the running game that looked unstoppable. RBs Fred TaylorFred Taylor and Sammie Morris combined for 106 yards on only 17 attempts with two TDs to cap the effort. That is over 5 yards per carry. If their running game can sustain anything close to this level of productivity throughout the year, this will open up the middle of the field for WR Wes Welker to run wild. Combine these two factors, and you get some single coverage on the outside for the very dangerous WR Randy Moss to go deep. Let's not forget the addition of rookie TE Aaron HernandezHernandez, who looked like more of a WR than a TE on Friday night, and has been working out with the WRs in camp. He corralled a game high 4 catches for 46 yards and a TD in this game.
The biggest question mark for this team is the defense. The unit gave up only 10 points the the Falcons on Friday night. I realize that it is only preseason and that they gave up 24 points the previous week to the Saints, but the Saints are one of the most explosive offenses in the league and defense has been a staple of coach Bill Belichick's championship teams in the past. If anyone can get this unit back on track, I'm sure he can.
The spotlight has definitely shifted away from the Patriots. but I get the idea that these guys don't mind it at all. It gives them the freedom to focus purely on football, and a focused New England Patriot team is something that anyone outside of New England should be very concerned about. Watch out for the Patriots to be the comeback team of this NFL season. They're a championship team with a championship coach leading championship talent on a quest for one thing: a championship.
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