It has been 156 days since the Patriots walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium with their heads hung low in defeat. In 60 days they will get their chance at redemption.
With their last 2 Super Bowl appearances ending in disappointment, Tom Brady and the gang are ready to erase those losses from our minds and give us a fourth ring. And according to our schedule, it shouldn’t be too hard to do. Statistically speaking, the Patriots have the easiest schedule this season, with their toughest games coming in week 3 against the Ravens and week 15 against the 49ers. On September 23, the Pats will take the field in Baltimore for a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game. The Ravens will be out for blood as they want to show that last year they should have been the team representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. The Patriots will be out to prove that it wasn’t just a fluke and that they are in fact the better team. Billy Cundiff is just hoping that the game doesn’t need to be decided by a field goal.
On December 16, the San Francisco 49ers will take their talents to Foxboro for a Sunday Night match up against the Pats. Joining the 49ers is former Patriot, Randy Moss, who has been an excellent off-season addition to the team. Both Harbaugh brothers will be gunning to dethrone Belichick’s Patriots in what should be some of the best football we’ll see this season.
The Patriots are no strangers to Super Bowl repeats. They won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005, but this year they’re coming back from a loss. In the past, only two teams have come back from a Super Bowl loss to win it all the next year. The 1970-71 Cowboys lost to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 5 and then came back to beat Don Shula and the Dolphins in 1972. We all know what happened next… The Dolphins became the only undefeated team in the history of the NFL with their 17th win coming against the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl 7 (the Fins also went on to win Super Bowl 8 against the Minnesota Vikings).
With Wes Welker still waiting for his long-term deal and Tom Brady turning 35 next month, this could be their last shot at winning a title together. There a lot of factors that favor the Pats returning to the Super Bowl, their “easy” schedule is just the tip of the iceberg. The triple threat of Brady, Welker and Gronkowski combined for 30 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards last season. The fact that the Patriots even made it to the Super Bowl with their 31st ranked defense speaks for itself and picking up 6 young and athletic defensive weapons in this year’s draft can only help.
Could this be the year the Patriots get that fourth Super Bowl title that’s eluded them for so long… Well for five years, anyway. We’ll have to stay tuned. The season kicks off September 9 in Tennessee.