Patriots Preview

Inside Look To New England’s Matchup With The Buffalo Bills

A new year. A new story. A new Tom Brady?  The New England Patriots kickoff their 2009 season with the Buffalo Bills in Foxoborough on Monday night as the Patriots look to shut down the new-look Bills who have some new-faces, most notably Terrell Owens.  The Patriots will honor the 50th anniversary of the National Football League by wearing their Boston Patriots, red-uniforms.  

Tom Brady suits up for the Patriots on Monday night for the first time since treaing his ACL on opening day of last year, forcing him to miss the entire 2008 campaign due to injury.  Brady looks to lead an explosive offense that strikes similar comparisons to their 2007 version.  New England will carry five running backs on its active roster and welcomes Joey Galloway to a revamped receiving core led by Randy Moss and Wes Welker.   

Five veterans are now missing from the New England defense, Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Larry Izzo, Mike Vrabel, and Rodney Harrison, are all either retired or donning new jerseys, so Bill Belichick and company will rely upon Defensive Rookie of the Year, Jerod Mayo, to step up and take charge for this defensive unit.  The additions of Leigh Bodden and Shawn Springs should help solidify the defensive backfield and shut-down receivers like T.O. in 2009 with Derrick Burgess coming off the edge and pressuring Trent Edwards.  

So the questions that remain are whether or not the defense can hold up to a Bills no huddle offense with no clear-cut leaders.  Also, the main quibble on the mind of all Patriot fans is the health of Tom Brady’s surgically repaired knee.  If Brady can prove that he can maneuver around the pocket and evade oncoming pass-rushers, the Patriots offense should be rolling on all levels.

Keep an eye on the chess match between Dick Jauron and Belichick.  The two head coaches have great respect for each other and the special teams and field-positioning battles should be interesting to watch.  

Final Prediction: Patriots 31-20

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