November 11, 2008
The Season Starts This Thursday
BY: Kevin Rousseau
Leave it to the fan friendly NFL and its in-house television network that I will be subject to listening to the opening night of the Patriots season on Thursday on the radio. It will feel like 1992 all over again.
Of course, the season is nine games old but truthfully the season begins this Thursday when the Jets come to Foxboro with first place on the line. With the Patriots looking, well, very Patriot-like lately and the Jets thinking they can finally slay the AFC East bully, this is definitely one for the ages. Yet living in the boonies of Maine and subscribing to a cable system apparently is too much to fight against when it comes to watching the game. Now I know what you are saying. "Geez, Kev. Why don't you go over to so-and-so's house and watch the game?" In a sure sign that I am getting old and gray in my mid-thirties, it's a work night and I have a regularly scheduled monthly that will run well past kickoff.
Enough about my woeful lot in life. Let's talk about this game and how it shapes up.
Let's start with the Patriots. The loss of Adalius Thomas is devastating. He covers so many positions adequately that there simply is no replacing him. That said, this 2008 Patriots team is arguably one of the most exciting teams I've seen in a while. Like in 2001, each week is a story unto itself and it's very interesting to see how it plays out. I find myself cheering louder and being happier after each win.
On Sunday against Buffalo, it was classic Patriot clock-chewing and outstanding quarterback play. The thing that is such a joy to see with Cassel is that he is starting to throw the ball to spots where the receiver is going and not necessarily where he is. Mix in the Human Memory Test having an outstanding rookie season at running back and aren't you having a blast, too? And don't Jerrod Mayo and Gary Guyton look like studs nine games into their rookie season at linebacker?
If the Patriots can grab a win on Thursday, they will be on their way to an improbable Super Bowl run. With games against Arizona, Seattle and Oakland ahead of them later in the year, a case could be made for a classic late-season Patriots push towards the Big Game. And in this year's AFC playoffs, I'll take my chances with the battle-tested Patriots against every other team, Titans included.
Of course, I'm putting the proverbial cart before the house. The Jets once again made a desperate move the week of a game versus the Patriots by signing Ty Law. It's enough to re-name the New York AFC Entry the "Everything But the Kitchen Sink When We Play the Patriots."
I can't wait for the season to start on Thursday night. I'll be like a little kid huddled up in front of the radio.
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