As promised, I'll be doing a game preview for each weeks match-up. I'm calling this segment "3rd and Long", because I plan to go over three hot topics/things to watch for in each preview. It was also the first name that came to me during the approximately eight seconds I spent thinking about what I should call my game previews. So while the name is subject to change, it's what we're going with for this week at least.
1st Down: The Most Annoying Sound in the World
If you thought that was bad, try listening to the latest batch of Joey Porter sound bites. First there was talk of how he has a natural "hate" for the Patriots.
“My feeling towards New England goes back further. It goes back to my Pittsburgh days. I feel a certain way after some things came out, way back when. There was some AFC championships I lost to them a couple times. Come to figure out a couple months later why we lost. So, yeah, I have natural hate for them. Period. And that’s just going to be with me forever. That’s not going to change. You can fill in the blanks. You know exactly what I’m talking about. And they know exactly what I’m talking about. And that’s not gonna change from my thought process on that situation.’’
Joey, if blaming your lack of execution on a video camera helps you feel better about yourself, then hate away. Clearly a video camera is responsible for a punt return touchdown and a blocked field goal touchdown in 2002. Foxboro Blog would also like to thank the good folks at Sony who got us the latest model of the Handycam just in time for the 2005 AFC Title game. We would've never been able to pick off Rothlisberger three times en route to a 41-27 drubbing without it!
Bottom line, Joey Porter can continue to run his mouth and say asinine things like how Brady "influences" the refs. New England does their talking on the field. The only annoying sound Porter will be hearing tomorrow are the muskets firing after a slew of Patriots' touchdowns.
2nd Down: Taming the Wildcat
Everyone remembers how the Miami demolished New England in their first meeting last year by unleashing the Wildcat. It was a brilliant suprise move that ultimately won the AFC East for the Dolphins. However, Tony Sparano had better come up with something even more shocking if he hopes to get the jump on Bill Belichick this time around. The Patriots are clearly not sleeping on the Fins this year and they've had two weeks to game plan thanks to the bye. A lot has been made of how Miami is a bad matchup for New England, with most people citing last year's wildcat fiasco as well as the Patriots' problems with the Wild Horses offense in Denver. However, by and large, the Patriots' defense has had no trouble slowing down their opponents this year no matter what formation has been thrown at them. New England's two defeats came during games where their offense was shut out in the second half. If Tom Brady, Wes Welker, and Randy Moss are in sync, there's no reason to think that the defense won't be able to keep up their end of the deal. If the Patriots lose, it will be due to turnovers and a poor receiving game, not a gimmick offense.
3rd Down: A Class Act
Before we wrap up, I just wanted to show the contrast between the Joey Porter's of this world and Tom Brady. When asked about Porter's comments, here's what Brady had to say:
“Some people get motivated by that stuff more than other people. I think it’s just guys having confidence. Joey has a lot of confidence, and he should. That’s a really good team, and he’s a great player"
If there's one thing I love about this team, it's quotes like that. Bill Belichick has his army trained to always say the right thing. The other team never gets a quote from the Patriots to hang in their locker room. The Pats don't create distractions and turn the game into a circus. They just march out onto the field and win. For all that everyone has to say about Belichick and Brady, you won't find two classier or more respectful opponents in the entire league. When you're great, it's obligatory for others to try and tear you down. However, you'll never see a Patriot doing it to himself by saying something stupid.
New England 38, Miami 13