After a long absence, here we are again. It is like we never left.

Welcome to the 2011-2012 NFL Season.

First off I would like to say how happy I am that football is back. Through the trials and the battles, we have finally reached agreements that keep our beloved game intact because I cannot begin to imagine what life would have been like without it.

The Patriots are back and I believe better than ever. Some of our rookies have adjusted and we even have a new weapon/ jokester to oggle. We will see if Unodos (Tom Brady – for those of you who don’t get the Spanish reference) can complete some memorable TDs with his new weapon Chad Ochocinco. This is my first attempt at fantasy football this year and I am very happy to report I have Brady as my quarterback.


Hopefully Wes Welker will have a big year in 2011. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

I am hoping that along with Wes Welker, I can dominate against my opponents. For some reason this year feels different than the prior.  There’s plenty of excitement, and we have finally become comfortable with our “newbies”, so now it is time to shine.

As the Patriots head into tonight’s game, here are my 5 thoughts for this week’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins:

- Chad Henne vs. Tom Brady, who comes out on top? – We know Brady is cool calm and collected, but will Henne melt under pressure or will he step up against the Patriots tonight?  Or will this be one of those games where he plays above and beyond what we expect and ends up with a big night throwing to Brandon Marshall and Co.?

- How will this revamped Patriots offense perform during game one? – Will Nate Solder and the offensive line protect Brady in the pocket well enough to allow him to get Ochocinco and Welker the football?  If so, will #85 finally be able to settle into the offense?  I’m interested to see if we finally see the offense execute against Miami the way we know they can.

- Who will be Brady’s “go to” target? Welker or Ochocinco? - Obviously in the past, Welker’s been Brady’s guy.  However, he and Ochocinco have spent a lot of time talking things out on the sidelines, and it will be interesting to see if we don’t finally see #85 start out strong tonight and take some of the pressure off of Welker.

- Will the shortened length of time in training camp have a major effect on either the Pats or Fins? – We saw New England try and shake the rust off during the preseason, and I’m curious to see if, now that the regular season is here, if the players on both sides of the ball can go out and play mistake-free football.  As for Miami, they made plenty of mistakes at home last year – and we all remember how that turned out.

- Will this game set the tone for any interdivisional rivalries? – It’s always nice to make “a statement” in the season opener, and considering the fact that the Dolphins were embarrassed at home by New England last year, I’m wondering if tonight’s game in Miami won’t take on a little more meaning heading into the next time these two face each other later this year.

I am so excited for the new season and am counting down the hours until kickoff!

Cheers and GO PATS!!!

~Diana

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