The worst fear of a New England Patriots fan became a reality in the team season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs; star quarterback and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Tom Brady was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury in the first quarter. If most teams lost their starting quarterback, we be writing the club off for the 2008 season, but the Patriots can still salvage the year, a testament to how good this team really is.
Fresh off what was one of the most disappointing games in Patriots history, Super Bowl XLII, the team loses their best player. It safe to assume that the Patriots won go undefeated again in the 2008 regular season, but how will they fare without their superstar signal caller?
Much of this season outcome falls on the shoulder of a player who hasn started a football game since his high school days. Yes, you read that correctly. Patriots backup Matt Cassell has not started a game since his senior year of high school. Cassell spent four years at USC backing up two Heisman Trophy winners, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. The Patriots selected him in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft, despite Cassell not starting a single game in college.
How Cassell fares will determine how many wins the Patriots can rack up. New England was all but assured to win the AFC East division with Brady at the helm, but now the divisional crown is up for grabs. Brett Favre and the Jets are considered to be a potential playoff team and the Buffalo Bills looked really good in their opener against the Seattle Seahawks. The Patriots will have to rely heavily on the running game, as Cassell is sure to experience his own growing pains throughout the season. Though his name is not as recognizable and won sell New England Patriots tickets the way Brady does, Cassell could be solid for the club. He looked pretty good against the Chiefs on opening day.
The club will need running back Laurence Maroney to step up, as theyl Sammy Morris and possibly LaMont Jordan to do so as well. Having Randy Moss and Wes Welker will certainly help Cassell, but the defense will need to take their game to the next level as the team offense will not be the juggernaut that it was expected to be.
With Cassell at the helm, this team is capable of winning as many as 10 or 11 games thanks to their overall talent, good coaching and soft schedule. The Jets and Bills can certainly smell blood in the water, though, and it won be an easy fight. If the Patriots can keep the ship together, however; a third place finish is not out of the question.
Written by Morgan C. Dunn, sponsored by StubHub. StubHub sells New England Patriots tickets, sports tickets, concert tickets, theater tickets and more to just about any event in the world
Oh joy spambots<3
Awe, you beat me to it ;(