by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
For the seventh year in a row, New England started off the season with a win. Although that victory came against a highly-touted Cincinnati squad, we can still take it with a grain of salt the size of a paperweight.
The Patriots travel to the brand new, Not-Just-For-Giants Stadium to battle their AFC East foes. As football analyst Jon Gruden pointed out more than once Monday night, the Jets went through some “Hard Knocks” vs. the Ravens (hilarious!), ending up with a 10-9 setback.
So New England comes in undefeated while the New Yorkers remain winless. Looks like another stress-free game, right?
Oh, you so don’t know me…
Compare With Me, Compare, Compare Away: Ever since we have taken note of wins, losses and scores, we’ve been comparing numbers of teams yet to play each other. New England’s 38-24 triumph looks pretty sweet when placed next to the Jets’ rancid loss, but the Bengals don’t come across as the kind of team that could win an alley fight with the Ravens, especially with Baltmore’s He-Man Haloti Ngata (all 6-foot-4, 350 pounds of him) and the batguano insane Ray Lewis involved.
What’s that you say? The Pats play the Ravens in Week Six? Oh. Charming.
Wanna Be LT? While Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson has slowed at this point in his career, he still showed effectiveness running and catching out of the backfield. Can Pats linebackers Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes keep up with him, or will they defer to the speed of Gary Guyton and subtract some of that stoutness up the middle?
Sacks And Violence: New England did get some pressure on Carson Palmer in the pocket (one sack). Their ability to get to Jets QB Mark Sanchez will help determine how far New York’s offense reaches into double digits next Sunday. It seems odd that Marques Murrell got waived, further depleting Foxboro’s less-that-abundant outside linebacker cache. Still, if the Patriots can replicate the defense that Palmer had trouble deciphering, Sanchez might struggle like Holden Caulfield in a society full of phonies.
Yeah, that’s right: a Catcher in the Rye reference. Deal with it.
Down On Their Knees: And ankles, feet and hips. In fact, we feel pessimistic about all the joints of New England’s elderly running backs, some so old they may have been drafted during the Mesozoic Era. Fred Taylor averaged over five yards a carry (14 for 71 yards) and Kevin Faulk was his usual mighty-mite self (three for 23, four catches for 47), but we’ll ask the same question that we’ve had every season for just south of forever – how long will this last? And at what point will the team miss Laurence Maroney’s comparative youth?
Who’s Gonna Drive You Home Tonight? This reference to the Cars’ melancholic ballad goes out to Our Tom Brady, who may want to – at the behest of his fans – hire a chaffeur to shuttle him to practice (in a reinforced Hummer, please).
Tom, may that be the last hard impact you suffer this season. And while you’re on the road, listen to the Cars’ seminal debut album from 1977. It’s wicked awesome.
Email Chris Warner at [email protected]