At the Meadowlands, the same stadium where they'd later secure their perfect season, Wes Welker scored the first touchdown of the year for New England in a win quickly overshadowed by SpyGate. The Patriots were caught videotaping some of the Jets defensive signals during the game and the NFL subsequently fined Bill Belichick and took away the team's No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft. Some say the embarrassment of the incident also provided the motivation for the team's perfect run.
2 of 18Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Week 2, Sept. 16
In the home opener, Randy Moss showed the Foxborough faithful he was more than worth the risk in signing, hauling in two touchdown passes in a win over the Chargers. Moss, who the Patriots acquired from the Raiders for a fourth-round draft pick, would have 100 yards receiving in each of his first four games.
3 of 18Robert E. Klein/Icon SMI
Week 3, Sept. 23
The Patriots scored 38 points for the third straight game, trouncing the Bills in Foxborough. Tom Brady threw for 311 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 10 TDs through three games.
4 of 18Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Week 4, Oct. 1
In front of a nationwide audience on Monday Night Football in Cincinnati, the Patriots had no trouble dismantling the Bengals. Free-agent acquisition Adalius Thomas (96) had his first sack of the season, taking down Cincy QB Carson Palmer.
5 of 18AP
Week 5, Oct. 7
Back home in Foxborough, the Patriots showed they're not just all offense, intercepting Browns quarterback Derek Anderson (3) four times en route to a 17-point victory. Ageless linebacker Junior Seau had two of the picks as New England improved to 5-0.
6 of 18AP
Week 6, Oct. 14
In a much-anticipated game against the unbeaten Cowboys in Dallas, the Patriots were in unfamiliar territory, trailing in the second half for the first time all season. Donte Stallworth's 69-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter helped New England pull away, turning a close game into a rout.
7 of 18Doug Murray/Icon SMI
Week 7, Oct. 21
With his coach Bill Belichick showing no mercy, Tom Brady completes a team-record six touchdown passes against the winless Dolphins in Miami.
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Week 8, Oct. 28
Against the league's fifth-ranked defense, the Patriots rolled up their highest point total of the season in another eye-opening blowout. When he wasn't pestering Washington QB Jason Campbell (17), New England linebacker Mike Vrabel was getting in on the offensive act, catching a 2-yd TD pass in the second quarter.
9 of 18Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Week 9, Nov. 4
In a game dubbed Super Bowl 41.5, the Patriots needed a fourth-quarter rally to get past the unbeaten Super Bowl champions. Trailing by 10 with nine minutes left, Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes, including the game-winner to Kevin Faulk, to improve the Pats to 9-0 heading into the bye week.
10 of 18Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Week 11, Nov. 18
The Patriots showed no rust after a week off, scoring a season-high 56 points against the helpless Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Randy Moss hauled in a career-high four touchdowns catches, continuing his amazing season.
11 of 18Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Week 12, Nov. 25
In perhaps their biggest scare of the season, the Patriots needed a late interception from Asante Samuel (who also returned a pick for a touchdown earlier in the game) to avoid an upset at the hands of an A.J. Feeley-led Eagles team.
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Week 13, Dec. 3
Showing vulnerability for the second straight week, the Patriots needed a late touchdown reception by Jabar Gaffney, along with a slew of mistakes by the Ravens, to escape Baltimore with their perfect record intact.
13 of 18Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Week 14, Dec. 9
Motivated by Anthony Smith's guarantee of a Steelers win, the Patriots burned the Pittsburgh safety for two touchdowns as New England got back into blowout form after two straight weeks of close calls.
14 of 18Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Week 15, Dec. 16
The weather stole the spotlight in this much-anticipated Spygate rematch, with rain, wind and ice all playing parts in the Pats worst offensive showing of the season. Many expected drama to unfold when Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini met at midfield after the game, but the former friends simply congratulated each other on the game and went on their way.
15 of 18Tom Croke/Icon SMI
Week 16, Dec. 23
Against the only other franchise to have a perfect season to its credit, the Patriots became the first team to go 15-0 in the regular season (the 1972 Dolphins played a 14-game season) to set up New England's shot at history.
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Week 17, Dec. 29
The Giants didn't make it easy, but on the strength of two Laurence Maroney touchdowns and 22 unanswered points late in the game, the Patriots completed the first 16-0 regular season in NFL history.
17 of 18David Bergman/SI
Divisional Playoff, Jan. 12
Tight end Ben Watson snatched a first-quarter pass over safety Sammy Knight to tie the score at seven, his first of two touchdowns in the game.
18 of 18Al Tielemans/SI
AFC Championship, Jan. 20
Running back Laurence Maroney powered the Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl in seven years, lunging over Chargers safety Clinton Hart for extra yardage. Maroney rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
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