One short week after manhandling their AFC rivals the Houston Texans, the New England Patriots have another potential playoff team in their sights.
Not having won a Super Bowl for seven long seasons has been a constant thorn in Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichicks side. His studious view on the game has won him many plaudits, and at times angered others. No doubting though the relationship and understanding he has with his quarterback Tom Brady is nothing short of a winning one. They are arguably the best Head Coach/QB tandem the game has seen.
In that seven year span, New England have of course come close. Twice being out=though and out=played by the pair of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning of the New York Giants. These losses do nothing more than spur the Patriots duo on.
They’ve hit a tremendous roll at present, dominating teams by scoring big. Over 50 points twice, and 40+ on four other occasions. Some say they have to score huge as they are a little suspect on defense, but when called upon that part of their game has stood up well in close games.
One pretender to their AFC crown this season is the Texans.
Houston have been number one in the conference all year, playing an exciting fast=paced brand of football. They rolled into Foxborough last Monday night hoping to prove they are for real, not just a team that is going to be an also ran. However, they were never at the races. Tom Brady threw four touchdowns and led his team to a 42-14 victory.
A statement of intent was made. The gauntlet well and truly thrown.
Once again the Patriots have an opportunity this coming Sunday night, to show that they are on the march to New Orleans, host of this year’s Super Bowl, in February. The highly rated San Francisco 49ers visit Gillette Stadium, one of the best, if not the best, teams in the NFC.
Should the 49ers show up with their best defensive play, they will have success. Teams that have gotten to Brady have usually had good days. Belichick will be aware of this and plan accordingly. Not often does he get his game planning wrong, especially when big games are on the line.
The 49ers were probably the standout team in the NFC last season, and but for the heroics of Eli’s Giants would have had the showdown with New England in the showpiece event at the end of last years play. They have had their own small transitions this year, adjustments at quarterback, but still remain the favorites to win through to the big one.
A New England win on Sunday will send a shudder down the spines of the rest of the potential championship caliber teams. Denver, Baltimore, the Giants and Green Bay will all be looking to take whatever they can from this game, as they will hope to meet either of these two teams when the postseason rolls into action next month.