The Teams: Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) vs. New England Patriots (0-0) The Terms: Regular Season Week 1 The Place: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA The Time: 1 p.m. The Channel: CBS 3 Burning Questions:
How will Brady play? Having missed all four preseason games, all eyes are on Tom Brady to see how the two-time Super Bowl MVP will perform. Is his foot hurt? If so, how much? Does it really matter against such a terrible team? The answers: Yes, not that bad and absolutely not. Brady could throw for 30 TDs on one foot over the course of a season and against a Kansas City team which will start more than a couple rookies on defense, Brady shouldn’t have a problem brushing off the rust. Look for a stat line similar to 25-35, 250 yards, two TDs and a pick. He’ll find receivers at will and look like the No. 12 we’ve come to love.
What can we expect from the offensive line? Like every other Patriots fan I was left scratching my head after the Super Bowl (actually banging it against the wall) trying to figure out what happened to the offensive line in the big game. The usual consistent play of LT Matt Light and LG Logan Mankins was no where to be seen and they were dominated from start to finish. That said, I’m not as worried about the O-line going into the season as other pundits are. Yes, they took a beating in the biggest game, but why all of a sudden does everyone think Brady’s days are numbered before he gets hurt by the line? He’s played with much less effective lines in the past and especially this week, there shouldn’t be much resistance in Week 1.
Can the secondary come together? Again, in the big picture the secondary is probably the most unclear position for the Pats heading into 2008. Fernando Bryant started all four preseason games and was cut. Tank Williams was placed on IR after game 1 of the preseason. John Lynch was brought in as a veteran presence but then was cut. ROOKIE Terrence Wheatley is looking like he might start (at least this week). The signing of Deltha O’Neal is a significant addition and he could be a starter soon when he learns the system. I’m not sold on any of the cornerbacks so it’s tough to know what to predict. Again, however, this week it shouldn’t be much of a worry as the Chiefs don’t offer much a threat thru the air.
I hate to sell an NFL team so short, but I just don’t see the Chiefs having any answers on either side of the ball. Larry Johnson has the ability to be a top echelon running back but has been hampered by injuries. There are questions as to if the Patriots can stop the run but with no real threat thru the air, the Pats should be able to stack the box and we’ll see just how good Jerod Mayo is. On the other side of the ball, Brady to Moss, Brady to Welker, get used to it. Maroney needs to establish the run early in the game and early in the season to give defenses something to think about. The Patriots played terribly in the preseason so they may start slow, but the fact of the matter is the Chiefs are just too young to compete with the boys in blue. Listen closely before the game as you may hear KC head coach Herm Edwards yelling to his players, “YOU PLAY…TO LOSE….BY ONLY 14!”