Who are the winners and losers now that New England quarterback
And remember, San Diego was still in the game in the fourth quarter of the 2007 AFC title game in Foxboro, despite no
The games, of course, will go on, and the train always keeps moving in the NFL. But subtracting Mr. Glamour from the league's glamour team -- in Week 1, no less -- is the worst-case scenario loss for the glamour-loving NFL.
Outside the AFC East, the way I plot it out, a team like the Titans that might benefit most from New England coming back to the AFC pack. Tennessee went 10-6 and made the playoffs as a wild-card team last year, and if you still believe that the AFC South will come down to a fight between Indianapolis and Jacksonville, then the Titans might be the team well-positioned to benefit from a Patriots' slide.
Either that or it's another chance to prove his coaching mettle, by answering the question we've all wondered about for years now: Whether Belichick's success with the Patriots had much more to do with Brady than anyone could ever calculate? We're about to find out.
For a guy who hasn't started a meaningful game at quarterback since high school, what more could Cassel ask for than to inherit the reins of the Patriots offense, which obliterated a host of NFL records just last year?
For the first time, it won't be Brady versus Manning, and for all we know the game may not even feature a pair of playoff-bound teams. The Colts were humiliated at home against the lowly Bears Sunday night, and the Patriots needed a
And while we're at it, we just got cheated out of two games of Brady versus
The Patriots will likely prioritize a much more balanced attack than their pass-heavy approach of last season. And there's no way they'll put Cassel in the shotgun formation 70 percent of the time, as they did Brady last year. Later in the season, when the weather turns colder and the elements become very much a factor in the AFC East, we could see New England morph into more of a smash-mouth team that tries to shorten the game and lessen the passing game load that will rest on Cassel's young shoulders.
The two receivers who stand to suffer the most in terms of statistical slippage with Cassel at the helm are Welker and Gaffney, the team's No. 2 and No. 3 pass-catchers. Welker was a chains-mover extraordinaire last year, catching a whopping 112 passes for 1,175 yards, and making many of his receptions seem like little more than extended hand-offs. Gaffney too had his moments, albeit with a relatively quiet 36 receptions for 449 yards and five touchdowns. New England can't possibly make up for that kind of passing-game production with Brady down for the count.