With a tough schedule this year, Brady may not have the same insane nine-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio that he did in 2010. However, No. 12 may very well put up 40 touchdowns after the Pats upgraded their already league-leading offense.
They added former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco via trade, as well as running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley who were both selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. Aside from the offseason acquisitions, the expected progression of young tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will make the New England offense one of the most complete and unstoppable units in the NFL.
Let's look through the Patriots' 2011 schedule and try and predict what Tom Brady's complete regular season game log will look like. The Pats get the high-flying NFC East this year, which means Brady will have a similar slate of games to his record-breaking 50-touchdown 2007 season.
Can he do it again?
Overall, the Miami Dolphins haven't been the greatest team in the past decade. In fact, they were almost the first team in NFL history to go 0-16 in 2007. Nevertheless, despite their ineptitude, the Fins almost always give Tom Brady and the New England Patriots fits. I say almost because Brady lit them up for six touchdowns, 354 yards, and a perfect passer rating in Miami during the 2007 NFL season. Then again, Brady lit everyone up in 2007.
However, even if you include that ridiculous performance, the Dolphins have still given Brady the hardest time out of all of New England's AFC East opponents. That's saying something, because a lot of people are under the impression that Brady has struggled most against the New York Jets.
Nope. It's Miami.
Brady's passer rating, completion percentage, and touchdown-to-interception ratio against the Fins are the lowest against all AFC East rivals. Also, Brady's struggles in Miami are well documented. For some reason, he just doesn't play well there.
Last season, with the help of amazing special teams performances from Patrick Chung and Brandon Tate, New England crushed Miami 41-14 in Sun Life Stadium.
This year I expect a different story. Miami's quarterback situation is a mess, and the Patriots always start off the season with a bang.
Prediction: 20-27, 265 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions
The San Diego Chargers are one team that New England Patriots fans actually fear. Their offense is so explosive because of Philip Rivers' unbelievable downfield arm and their defense is equally dynamic.
They have long been one of Tom Brady's least favorite opponents. The Chargers nearly stole a game against the Pats last season despite barely being able to field an offense. Rivers was throwing balls to Seyi Arijotutu, Legedu Naanee, and Randy McMichael, and he was making it look easy. The defense was shutting down the Patriots offense, limiting Brady to a measly five yards per attempt, his lowest of the season.
New England was able to squeak out the victory, but the fact remains—the Chargers defense is one of the only defenses in the NFL that can actually defend the high-flying Pats O.
This season the game is in New England and it's the home opener—just like in the Patriots' magical 2007 season. The similarities don't end there, though.
Just like in 2007, I expect Brady to have a great game.
Prediction: 21-32, 210 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots own the Buffalo Bills.
Brady is 17-1 against the Bills in his career. 17-1. Let that sink in for a second.
To help you understand just how dominant Brady is versus Buffalo, let's delve into some career numbers:
- Completion percentage—65.4 percent
- Passing yards—4,105
- Touchdown to interception ratio—39:12
- Passer rating—103
So basically, the Buffalo Bills hate seeing No. 12. He kills them every time.
In 2010, Brady carved up the Buffalo secondary for six touchdowns, no picks, and a passer rating north of 120. The Bills aren't the worlds greatest team, but they aren't that bad.
Brady somehow continually dominates them, and there is no reason to think he won't do it again this season.
Prediction: 19-25, 310 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions
The New England Patriots have played the Oakland Raiders since 2005, but quarterback Tom Brady has not. Due to his injury in 2008, Brady last played the Silver and Black in the 2005 home opener when the Pats lifted the Super Bowl XXXIX banner up to the rafters.
Tommy Boy had no problem handling that Raiders defense, shredding them for 306 yards, two touchdowns and no picks.
What happened when Matt Cassel quarterbacked the team in 2008? He too had no problems, leading the Pats to a 49-26 win in Oakland.
This year the Patriots head back to the "Black Hole" in Oakland, except this time, No. 12 is playing quarterback.
Not good for the Raiders.
Prediction: 16-26, 225 yards, three touchdowns, one interception
Tom Brady had trouble against the New York Jets in his near-perfect MVP season in 2010.
Fact, not opinion.
Think about this: including the playoffs, the Jets accounted for two of New England's three losses, as well as three of Tom Brady's five interceptions. Additionally, the Jets sacked Brady nine times in those three games. The other 14 games? Brady was only brought down 21 times.
Very impressive for a ferocious Jets defense led by head coach Rex Ryan.
Yeah, Ryan got burned in the 45-3 massacre against Brady on Prime Time in Game 12 last year, but it's impossible to hold Brady down for long.
Still, Ryan's defense got the last laugh when their pressure, size and speed helped the Jets stun the Pats in the divisional round of the playoffs.
This time, it's Brady's turn for revenge.
With a few key lineman leaving this offseason, the Jets will be weaker on the front-seven then they've been in years. They better hope rookie defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson pans out, or they are going to be in big trouble.
Prediction: 20-34, 260 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions
The last time Tom Brady played the Dallas Cowboys, let's just say, it wasn't pretty.
For the Cowboys.
No. 12 unleashed his full wrath on "America's Team," tossing five touchdowns, no picks, and nearly 400 yards. Brady was unstoppable, throwing to seven different receivers. His favorite target?
You guessed it, vacuum cleaner Wes Welker.
Welker gathered 11 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns. With No. 83 still wreaking havoc in the slot, and the game taking place in the friendly confines of Gillette Stadium, I bet Brady and Welker are looking forward to this matchup.
That only means one thing—look out.
Prediction: 24-34, 325 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the Pittsburgh Steelers have a long, long history. Considering that the Pats and Steelers are the two best teams of the NFL's last 10 years, this isn't exactly surprising.
They've only played against each other six times (including the 2004 AFC Championship Game), but every game has been very important, and all been played with a playoff-like intensity. When the Pats and Steelers match up, you know it's going to be a good game.
Despite being known for its stellar defense, Pittsburgh has no answer for Brady.
In the regular season Tommy Boy is 4-1 vs. the Steelers, completing an astonishing 68 percent of his passes, while throwing for 12 touchdowns against just three interceptions and maintaining a passer rating above 100.
In the postseason, things didn't change much.
Brady threw for 207 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions, and finished with a passer rating of 130. Pretty standard procedure for No. 12.
In 2010, Brady once again destroyed the Steelers (three touchdowns, no picks, 117 QB rating), and I expect him to keep it up in 2011.
Prediction: 29-42, 330 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions
I don't think I need to state the storyline heading into this game.
Tom Brady has only one Super Bowl loss, and as you know, it was against the New York Giants. The truth is though, this is a much different team from that 2007 Giants team.
For one, there is no more Michael Strahan.
The defense is still very good; however, it lacks the explosiveness of that Super Bowl team. In order to thrive against this defense, Brady is going to have to get the ball out quick in order to neutralize the pass-rush.
Luckily for Brady, he has Wes Welker, Deion Branch, and Chad Ochocinco running routes for him. They are all superb at getting open, and rarely drop passes.
A perfect counter to New York's aggressive, attacking style.
I think Brady will have an easier time in this game than he did in the never-to-be-mentioned-again Super Bowl XLII.
Prediction: 25-37, 230 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions
We already discussed the history between Tom Brady and the New York Jets.
There is one other thing that needs to mentioned here: Brady has specifically struggled against the Jets in New York under Rex Ryan's watch.
This season, unfortunately, the trend continues.
Prediction: 18-33, 190 yards, one touchdown, one interception
It may sound like a strong statement, but it took a year off of the Tom Brady-Randy Moss tag team, and more importantly, it took a year or two off of Brady's career.
This season, the Patriots will be looking to avenge that game.
Kansas City won't just roll over, though. They have improved immensely in the past few seasons, boast one of the best rushing attacks in the league, and have an underrated defense. Tamba Hali is a sack machine, and Eric Berry is a budding superstar at the safety position.
I expect this game to be an absolute battle. Remember, however, that No. 12 almost never loses at home.
Prediction: 19-30, 215 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions
Ah, the "Dream Team." I can't wait for the New England Patriots to square off against the Philadelphia Eagles.
I imagine, by then at least, that the Eagles (or Packers) will be considered favorites to come out of the NFC. I also imagine that experts will say that Philadelphia will be able to stop Tom Brady's dynamic passing attack.
Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are all great. Unfortunately, none of them play linebacker.
Let's play a game. If you are a non-Philadelphia fan—without using Google—try and name me one of the Eagles' starting linebackers. Good luck.
Considering New England head coach Bill Belichick's innate ability to exploit an opponent's weakness, I have a feeling he will have something up his sleeve for those over-matched linebackers. Whether it's via Brady's arm or Danny Woodhead/BenJarvus Green-Ellis' legs, the Pats are going to score.
Expect a huge game from tight end Rob Gronkowski in this one. No one on the Eagles can guard him (or any team for that matter).
This potential Super Bowl XLVI preview could go a lot of different ways, but no matter which way it goes, Brady should have a pretty nice day.
Prediction: 20-34, 230 yards, two touchdowns, one interception
It's on like Donkey Kong. The annual debate regarding which is the better quarterback will rage on, and we will continue to choose Brady (three rings > one ring) and they will continue to choose Manning.
Listen, both quarterbacks are amazing. Literally. They are the two best quarterbacks in NFL history in my opinion, and they are in the same conference. We really should just stop arguing about which is better, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.
How much longer are we going to be able to enjoy this unbelievable rivalry?
Three years? Maybe five?
Forget the stats, forget the history, forget the playoff implications.
This is just one of those games you have to watch if you consider yourself a football fan. It's the two greatest leaders in the NFL right now, and two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
Enough dissecting. Enjoy the game.
Prediction: 20-28, 260 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions
The New England Patriots obliterated most of their opponents during their perfect regular season in 2007.
However, what they did to the Washington Redskins was worse.
There is no word to describe how badly the Pats kicked their ass. The final score read 52-7.
Remember, this isn't Madden, this is real life.
I would say that Tom Brady has their number, but I think you've figured that out by this point. The Skins' defense has improved, however, with the arrivals of Barry Cofield and Josh Wilson. Cofield is a disruptive force in the middle, and Wilson was one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the NFL last season.
So while I don't expect Brady to get shut down, I also can't imagine the Pats will drop 52 again.
Prediction: 22-33, 280 yards, three touchdowns, one interception
The Denver Broncos have long been one of Tom Brady's least favorite opponents. They knocked him out of the playoffs in 2005, and have continued to torture him even as their team has gotten progressively worse.
The last time the New England Patriots faced the Broncos (2009), in fact, the Mile Highers held Brady to just 63 second half passing yards and Denver squeaked out an overtime win.
In his career, Brady has been mediocre, at best, against the Broncos (1-5 record, not including playoff loss):
- Completion percentage—56.8 percent
- Touchdown-to-interception ratio—10:5
- Passer rating—81.5
Obviously none of those numbers would matter if the Patriots were winning games, but Brady has just one win against Denver in his whole career!
This season, I think the Pats will buck the trend.
Oh, and Brady will too.
Prediction: 20-31, 275 yards, three touchdowns, one interception
In last year's regular season finale, Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer made a great tag team. Brady took the Miami Dolphins on for about two and a half quarters, leaving Hoyer with a 31-0 lead.
Hoyer took advantage, hitting Brandon Tate with a perfect 42-yard strike to make it 38-0 nothing.
The Dolphins got a touchdown at the way end to erase the shutout, but the damage was done.
I imagine more of the same this year.
At this point in the season, Brady and the Pats will have already secured a top seed, and will be looking to get into the postseason with as many healthy players as possible. Brady will probably play three or three and a half quarters in this one.
Doesn't mean he won't produce.
Prediction: 17-23, 225 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions
Tom Brady may be on the sidelines for half the game against his favorite opponent, the Buffalo Bills, but that doesn't mean he won't put up sparkling numbers.
Whether it's Game 1 or Game 16, when the Bills play the New England Patriots, Brady is going to put up an aerial assault.
The foot almost never comes off the peddle with Bill Belichick, but he will most likely give Brady a rest in the third or fourth quarter.
Prediction: 14-19, 190 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions
When all is said and done, Tom Brady will have had a magnificent 2011 regular season as quarterback of the New England Patriots.
Here is a look at his numbers overall:
- Completion percentage—66.4 percent
- Passing yards—4,020
- Touchdown-to-interception ratio—42:6
- Yards per attempt—8.2
Brady's stats are obviously unbelievable in this case. It's funny, because I have been telling people that this year would be a mixture of 2007 and 2010, and Brady's numbers reflect just that.
While he does improve across the board from last season (except in interceptions), the existence of a strong running game, unlike 2007, will prevent Brady from reaching 50 touchdowns.
However, with a ridiculous 7:1 touchdown to interception rate, Brady will once again be in the discussion for NFL MVP.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!