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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New England Patriots Season Preview

New England Patriots Season Preview
New England Patriots Season Preview

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s time to deal with the reality of going back to class and facing the battles with homework, projects, and exams. But fall also marks the most famous six words in sports: Are you ready for some football?
Oh yeah, especially in this part of the country, as the New England Patriots are set to raise a fifth Super Bowl banner at Gillette Stadium, and seek to tie a league record with a sixth Lombardi Trophy, which the Steelers will be hard at work to prevent. The New England franchise made some good additions to their roster in the offseason, and even after a devastating injury to Julian Edelman in the preseason, the Pats will still have the goods to make another great championship run.
To start, let’s thank the folks who did their part in New England’s memorable Super Bowl LI win last February. Thank you to LeGarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett, Michael Floyd, Chris Long, and especially Rob Ninkovich; all but Ninkovich signed with different teams in the offseason, but they all played well in the championship game. In the meantime, we welcome the likes of cornerback Stephon Gilmore, running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee, and the most underrated receiver in the NFL today, Brandin Cooks.
We also welcome Dwayne Allen, who will make a good tight end partner for All-Universe star Rob Gronkowski. Even at 40 years old, and despite a devastating ACL tear nearly a decade ago, Tom Brady has yet to show any glaring signs of weakness in his game. The defense still looks as good as ever, with Dont’a Hightower now leading the linebacker corps, and Devin McCourty and Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler starting in the secondary.
That said, we move to the schedule. The Patriots will open their 2017 regular season against the team that opened their 2008 season, the Kansas City Chiefs. Saving grace: No Bernard Pollard to worry about! Week two will see Brandin Cooks going back to face his former team, the Saints, and take the Patriots to the site of their first Super Bowl victory 16 years ago in New Orleans. After a pair of home dates with playoff contenders Houston and Carolina, Week five will showcase a Thursday night clash between the Pats and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the following week will be the Patriots’ first AFC East game against the team with the worst prospective record this year, the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets—or are they the Jests?
Anyway, the following home game will be the highly charged Super Bowl LI rematch between the Patriots and the subject of every 28–3 meme, the Atlanta Flacons. The Falcons will be led by last year’s league MVP, Matt Ryan, and the game will take place on a Sunday night. After another home game against the Chargers, the Pats will welcome a bye week before taking on two away games, which will be among their biggest challenges. The first will be in Denver, with the return of Brock Osweiler to the Broncos’ roster, and the Patriots’ kryptonite in Sports Authority Field. The following away game will be against the Raiders in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, with the game’s best young star, Derek Carr, at the helm of Oakland’s offense. The next three games will be a sandwich involving AFC East rivals: the Bills at Foxboro as the meat, and the home and away games with the Dolphins serving as the bread.
The Patriots will face one more great challenge the week before Christmas Eve, a road date with the hungry, and jealous, Pittsburgh Steelers, who should give up their spots on the field to the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Penguins— as they seem to have something that the Steelers don’t! Home games against the Bills and Jets complete the regular season schedule.
The verdict? No way the Patriots are going undefeated, I must say. And I felt this way even before Edelman’s injury. The road games are going to have the opponents all charged up and motivated, and at least one will succeed; I think Denver or Pittsburgh will have the best chance. But the Pats will still put in a great campaign, I say 13-3 on the season, with home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs being an all but certainty. Staying healthy will be the key. Let’s go for that ‘ship six!