NFL Playoff Preview: Are Tom Brady and The New England Patriots Unbeatable?

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IDecember 27, 2010

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots talks with head coach Bill Belichick before playing against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  The Patriots won the game 31-27.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are beating teams in every way imaginable, they have a great passing game, an underrated running game and a young, athletic defense that forces many turnovers.

They seem unbeatable, but they have some flaws that teams can expose. 

Many of these flaws were exposed in Super Bowl XLII when the Patriots lost to the New York Giants, ending their perfect season.

But many of them are subtle, that the casual NFL fan might not realize. The Patriots have been amazing so far, but in the NFL, any team can beat any opponent on any given Sunday.

The 2007 Patriots were the greatest passing offense ever, but in the Super Bowl the prolific aerial attack was halted with an excellent pass rush by the Giants.

Getting to Tom Brady is the number one way to get the Patriots offense out of rhythm. He hasn't thrown an interception in almost half a season, so getting in his face is likely the only way to force Brady into a mistake.

Defense must get to Tom Brady because he has too many weapons to throw to, and if he has ample time to look downfield, he cannot be stopped. 

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Not only does Brady have great receivers like Deion Branch and Wes Welker to throw to, he has the best tight end combo in the NFL, rookie Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.

Both rookie tight ends are strong, fast, and have great hands. Gronkowski has nine touchdowns receptions this season, a Patriots rookie record for tight ends, and is only three away from Mike Ditka's NFL record of 12 touchdown receptions for a rookie tight end.

The New England defense has been quite beatable at times. It is a young, and mostly inexperienced unit, but all of them are athletic and intelligent.

Jerod Mayo is quickly becoming an elite linebacker, and currently leads the NFL in tackles. Rookie Devin McCourty is making the decision to let Asante Samuel leave via free agency a good move. McCourty has been a huge success in his rookie season, after many scrutinized coach Bill Belichick for drafting him from Rutgers.

Another key for teams trying to beat the Patriots is keep Tom Brady off the field, which means control the ball and the clock. 

If you can melt the clock and score, you force Brady to change his offense up a little bit. The Patriots defense can be beaten, especially in the secondary. 

Great passing teams like the Colts, Saints, and Falcons scare Patriots fans. The secondary has been a bend but don't break unit, but it could break anytime.

Tom Brady is going to get his points, meaning his opponents will need to play nearly perfect on their offensive possessions. This sort of pressure is hard to overcome, but it's not impossible against a Patriots defense that is still young and susceptible to allowing lots of points to mediocre teams.

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