Monday, May 07, 2007

Did I Sleep Through The 2007 Season?

Can someone help me? Did I sleep through the 2007 season?

Did I suddenly become Rip Van Winkle? How could I have missed out on the New England Patriots winning Super Bowl XLII?

But wait. I just checked my calender and unless my eyes are playing tricks on me it's only May 7 and the regular season is still four months away.

If that's the case, then why in the hell is practically every football writer, website and newspaper handing the Lombardi Trophy to the Patriots?

The off-season additions of Adalius Thomas, Tory James, Donte Stallworth, Wes Walker and Randy Moss, have made the Patriots stronger. There's no doubt about that. On paper, New England is one of the favorites. But games aren't won on paper. They're won on the field.

How can anyone in their right mind pencil New England into the Super Bowl when training camp hasn't even started yet?

Did people suddenly forget that San Diego is loaded with talent and Philip Rivers is another year older and probably wiser? Let's not forget Indianapolis either. The defending champions got even stronger on offense with the addition of Anthony Gonzalez in the slot and Tony Ugoh is a future fixture at tackle.

The Colts did lose both corners in free agency, but Tony Dungy's Cover 2 scheme doesn't need great cover corners and youngsters Marlin Jackson, Kelvin Hayden and Tim Jennings should be able to adequately replace Nick Harper and Jason David. And let's not forget Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

Over in the NFC, Philadelphia and New Orleans got stonger, Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander are healthy for Seattle and Chicago still has that tough defense.

There are too many variables to start making Super Bowl predictions right now. The main one being injuries. Every year some big name players go down during the long grind of training camp and preseason. Who can say that won't happen to New England?

Every team has question marks and the Pats are no different. Will Randy Moss behave himself? Can the key players stay healthy? Can Laurence Maroney take the pounding of a full season as number one tailback? Can an aging defense be as good as it has been, even with the addition of Thomas?

The Moss deal was a good one. He's well worth a fourth round pick, but he's a one dimensional receiver who will need Welker and Stallworth to take defenders away from Moss to give Randy one-on-one chances.

It seems many in the media are picking the Pats just because of the Moss deal. My question to them is - how many Super Bowl rings does Randy Moss have? Wide receivers don't win Super Bowls. It takes a strong defense and an effective running game.

New England is aging on the defensive side (Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Rodney Harrison) and Maroney had a lot of help from Corey Dillon last season. The jury is still out on his ability to be a feature back.

The Patriots are good and have a chance to go all the way, but it's way too early to start making Super Bowl predictions.

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