6Magazine 2012 NFL Previews: New England PatriotsAugust 7, 2012
by: Julian Kimble.
So how does a team bounce back from losing their second Super Bowl in four years to the same team? Well, the last time the Patriots took that L, Tom Brady hurt his knee in the season opener, thus giving Matt Cassel a pro career. The Patriots went 11-5 that season, but missed the playoffs. That is not going to fly in Foxborough this season, especially after losing the big game to the ever-puzzled looking Eli Manning. Again.
Tom Brady is coming off of one of his best seasons, and this is a guy who threw 50 TD’s in 2007. Last season was definitely the year to air it out in the NFL, as Brady was one of three QB’s to throw for over 5,000 yards. Still, he’ll be looking to make folks forget about that image of him leaving the field after Super Bowl XLVI, looking like a broken Bruce Wayne. Their two-headed tight end attack of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez is unlike anything the NFL has seen recently, and they still have Wes Welker to eat up yards in the middle of the field. They’ve also added the quick and somewhat revitalized Brandon Lloyd to be what Chad Ochocino, er, “Johnson,” was supposed to be last season, and Deion Branch is the holdover from the good ol’ days. Their biggest question is at running back, now that BenJarvus Green-Ellis, or “Law firm” if you will, has become a Bengal.
This remains a major area of concern for the Patriots. Gone are the days of Tedy Bruschi, Rodney Harrison and Ty Law, where the Patriots dominant defense struck fear into the hearts of opponents. Their secondary got picked on last season, as the Pats nearly gave up an NFL single-season record for passing yards allowed. Last year, the Patriots defense was a great offense, but trying to outscore people clearly didn’t work in Super Bowl XVLI against the Giants and barely worked in the AFC Championship Game. They’re actually going to have to stop someone in 2012.
It’s been seven years since the Patriots raised the Lombardi Trophy in celebration, and Brady—who had 3 rings by 27—just turned 35. At the same time, they’re still led by Tom Brady, a dude who threw for 5,235 yards and 39 TD’s last season at 34. They have two young tight ends who are arguably better than most team’s receivers, and the guy (Welker) who’s caught more passes than anyone else in the league since 2007. For now, at least. Plus, with The Hoodie at the helm, a return to the Super Bowl is always possible, it just isn’t guaranteed. Neither is a dub if they’re playing the Giants. Also, keep Gronk away from the porn stars during the bye week.