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GAME DAY THOUGHTS: A 3 Way Street In the AFC East

It’s game day, and here are some quick thoughts on tonight’s game:

‘Big Al’ ended up being a big disappointment. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Coming off a home loss to the Giants, The Patriots are now in a three way tie in the AFC East heading into tonight’s match-up against the New York Jets. With the Pats, Jets and Bills sitting at 5-3, it is extremely important for New England to defeat the Jets on the road tonight to regain the top slot.

One area to watch tonight will be the defensive line. Now that the team has parted ways with Albert Haynesworth, there is a big hole up front next to Vince Wilfork. He was clearly a big disappointment, and it’s going to be interesting to see who steps up and fills his role in this defense.

Looking back at last week’s game, that “rotational related” switch against the Giants saw Haynesworth fail to make a play that essentially ended his career in New England. Hopefully now that he’s gone the Patriots can adjust defensively and keep their composure in a tough road environment against Rex Ryan and his Jets.

The Patriots also have to gain more momentum and fire in the wide receiver department. Will Chad Ochocinco ever do anything for our offense? Tonight would be a key opportunity for him to finally get going and start showing why the Patriots traded for him.

It should be interesting, and while the Jets are 4-0 at home this season, I am looking forward tonight’s match-up and am really hoping the Brady bunch can pull together for the win.

Cheers and GO PATS!


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Game Day Thoughts: Patriots at Bills

Brady will obviously be a big key in today’s game. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Week 3 is here and it brings a divisional rivalry to the forefront, and the Bills are starting off strong this season with a 2-0 record.

Offensively they have been able to put a couple impressive W’s on the board. Since Buffalo is big and physical, New England will have to play hard defensively in order to shut down Ryan Fitzpatrick and company to seal a 3-0 record.

Some interesting numbers for today:

Tom Brady dominant in the 1st quarter: He’s 17-of-18 in the first quarter, although Aaron Hernandez was his top target, accounting for five of those completions for 57 yards and a touchdown. With him sidelined for this afternoon, it should be interesting to see how they adjust.

They Start Fast: First down is where Brady has been the most effective this season, throwing for 465 yards and five touchdowns.

They Finish Strong: There was a lot of talk about how the Patriots didn’t come out strong in the second half in recent years, but that hasn’t been the case so far this season. Brady’s thrown for 451 yards in the first half, and he’s been even more effective with 489 in the second over two games, along with 3 total first half touchdowns and 4 total in the final two quarters.

Divisional games are some of my favorite to come by. I remember attending the Monday Night Football game between the two in 2009 where the winner was decided within the last two minutes of the fourth quarter when the Patriots defeated the Bills 25-24. I expect it to be a tough game, but I am looking forward to this week’s matchup in Buffalo and expect the Patriots keeping the reign as AFC East kings.

Cheers and GO PATS!!!


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Pats / Bolts Pregame Thoughts

Last week’s match-up against the Dolphins definitely has me looking forward today’s game against San Diego, especially after watching the way they played in week one against Miami.

Seated at a table near some Miami fans, I cheered the Pats to a remarkable win in which Brady passed for a career high of 517 yards. Brady and the offense also helped me to win my first week of fantasy football, and sparked the excitement that I’m sure most of you have had about this team over the past several seasons.

As we head into today’s game, it’s time to welcome the San Diego Chargers to Gillette Stadium. The home opener will be intense and the Chargers are hungry for a “W”  - a feat that has not occurred in Pats land since 2008.

Here are five quick thoughts on today’s game:

- Ochocinco - Will Chad step up and get more acclimated with the Patriots offense? Last week he was a bit of a let down- will he be able to make some catches   to contribute to a Patriots win?

If all goes well we’ll see another big performance from Tom Brady today. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- Point for Point – Will this matchup be down to the wire? Looking at games in the past, this match-up may be extremely close. Home field advantage will definitely give the Patriots an edge, and hopefully the fans answer Tom Brady’s call earlier this week and come ready to be loud.

- Brady vs. Rivers - Who will be the better QB? In previous years the two have been tied up for number of TD’s at any given point in the season. If all goes well, hopefully Brady picks up where he left off last Monday night and we see another big day from the offense.

- AFC Championship preview – This game may very well be a preview of a potential AFC Championship match-up. Both Brady and Rivers are hot and these two teams could be the contenders in the Conference at the end of the season.

- Defense, Defense - With both offenses in their prime, it will be up to the defenses to step up their game. How well will both teams protect their QB?

Kickoff is just a few hours away, and I’m looking forward to another Patriots victory.   Bring on the Bolts!!!

Cheers & GO Patriots!


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Pats/Dolphins – Five Thoughts On Tonight’s Game

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!!!


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Patriots Silence the Bengals, Can they Do The Same to Rex Ryan’s Jets?

It’s on to week two after the Patriots survived the orange and black attack in their 38-24 win over the Bengals on Sunday, playing better than many expected and getting the season off to a good start.

We saw some familiar faces back on the field last Sunday, along with some outstanding rookies who helped make week one a success. We also saw Tom Brady get off to another great start, after he finished 25-of-35 for 258-yards and 3 touchdowns. The rookie tight ends also made a great first impression, with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski both proving that they already have a handle on the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick mechanics of football.

Welker finished with 53 yards on 7 catches along with 2 touchdowns, and came back from his knee surgery in a big way last Sunday. (FILE-PHOTO:Icon/SMI)

There were plenty of big plays last week, with Gary Guyton, Brandon Tate and Wes Welker having a big impact on the game. Guyton had his first career pick which led to a touchdown, while Brandon Tate had a 97 yard kickoff return for a score. Welker was also on fire, finishing with 53 yards on 7 catches along with 2 touchdowns, and came back from his knee surgery in a big way.

They also got a solid performance out of rookie Devin McCourty, who showed up on the first play of the game when he broke up a deep throw by Carson Palmer to Terrell Owens. Overall he played extremely well, and did a good job in helping their defense hold the Bengals to just 3 first half points.

Just as the Patriots survived the Bengals during week one, I survived my first Tennessee Titans game as a Patriots fan during my first visit to LP Field. Amongst a vast sea of sky-blue jerseys, I was practically the only one wearing red as I was there in a red tank top and my Patriots earrings. I was blown away by how many people were in attendance. I thought the games here would lack in comparison to what I am used to in New England, but that wasn’t the case. It was loud, and I cheered during Patriots highlights and even shared NFL mobile updates with the Titans fan next to me. I felt at home because he had Brady on his fantasy league. Everytime a Patriots update came through I informed him. It gave me instant comfort in a land I felt very disconnected from.

So it was a fun first week of the NFL season for me. Now we’re 1-0, and with week one behind us, it’s time to look to week two against Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets.

On Monday, I caught the second half of the Jets-Ravens game and I have to say after “Hard Knocks” and all the hype we’ve heard about the fact they’ve already punched a ticket to the Super Bowl, I wasn’t very impressed. Their offense was weak, with Sanchez looking pretty bad against a very strong Ravens defense. New York played poorly, racking up penalty after penalty and making bad plays (stepping out short of the first down marker on what could have been a game winning drive…really?) which helped the Ravens hand the Jets and their fans a 10-9 loss to open the season.

Needless to say their mistakes and inability to do much offensively make me not too fearful about what is to come this Sunday. The anticipation is mounting, and I will be looking for five key elements of the game:

1) Separation anxiety? Randy Moss and his performance after his presser discussing his lack of appreciation. Will he step it up and get more catches and yardage against Darrelle Revis?

2) Attack of the sack: Which quarterback will be under more pressure in the pocket?

3) Battle of the AFC East: Will this game set the stage for the AFC East rivals? What will we learn to use against the Jets in December?

4) Hardknocks or hardheads? No man is an island. How will the Patriots stop Darrelle Revis?

5) Welker wellness: Will Wes Welker maintain the same edge he had on the Bengals against the Jets defense?

I am definitely looking forward to this one on Sunday. Hopefully if all goes well, we’ll see New England improve to 2-0, and they’ll hand the Jets their second loss of the season. I’d love to hear your thoughts on your own “keys to the game”, so be sure to post your thoughts and predictions in the comment section below.

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Just a New England Girl, Living in a Titans World…

It has been a long time coming, but here it is, my first blog entry.  This first entry is going to be short and sweet just like the sweet tea I am sipping on, but I am going to check in weekly to share my thoughts about the season with my five things that I am looking forward to seeing each game.

My name is Diana, and I am from a small town called Plymouth, Connecticut. I come from a family full of Patriots fans. I have been pro Boston sports ever since I was a kid and grew up watching just about every Bruins game thanks to my dad.  Amongst playing with barbies and being a cheerleader, I had a passion for football – Patriots football.  I would watch every game I could and even fall asleep to Sportscenter. My goal is to become a sportscaster someday and hopefully be on sideline near you!

I don’t care if Titans fans get offended when they see me wearing my Wes Welker Jersey on game days.

As for right now, I am coming to you live from my laptop, and am in a place I never thought I would be, Nashville, TN.  I’m now a displaced New Englander embarking on a new adventure in the land of the Tennessee Titans. This is my first season outside the comfort zone of Patriots banners, license plates and window clings. I am in Tennessee with my Connecticut plates (in Patriots trim) wearing my Patriots hat and still showing every ounce of Patriots pride around these Titans folks.  My love for football is strong and the Patriots are my passion, so do not let the girly-girl image fool you. I can wear heels with my Wes Welker jersey if I want to! I’m kidding of course…although not about the Welker Jersey.

I am not a bandwagon fan or just a Tom Brady lover. I know my stuff and have been loyal even going back to the Drew Bledsoe era.  Whether it be improvements or praise, I will highlight my concerns and profess my love for the team that will always have my heart.  With the preseason behind us, we are now just a week away from the regular season and I could not be happier.

Well, NFL Live is calling my name.  Thank you for reading, and I look forward to being in touch with all of you soon!

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