Refreshing. A word that came to mind when reflecting on the Patriots win against the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday. In front of an empty Gillette stadium, the Patriots came out on a sunny afternoon ready for opening day of the season and it was different in many ways. I have been a Patriots fan my whole life and I am 20 years old; I haven’t known a season without Tom Brady until now… To see a new man under center for the Patriots was something exciting to look forward to as it was something I have never experienced.
Cam Newton is a great replacement for Tom as the two could not be any more different on and off the field. Cam brings a swagger to this Pats team that you did not see with Brady as it was all business for the Brady-Belichick era of 19 years. Cam arrived to Foxborough with a full yellow suit and top hat that had him looking like a winner before he even took the field. He adds a whole new dynamic to the offense as he creates another running option from the backfield. That was seen early on as Cam took one to the house with his legs and celebrated with his o-line and then threw up a “Wakanda Forever” in remembrance of Chadwick Boseman who played the superhero in Black Panther.
Cam did it all on Sunday finishing with 155 yards in the air and 75 yards on the ground with two TDs. Including everyone in the offense was noticeable for Cam as he was finding N’Keal Harry and Julian Edelman throughout the day as he sprinkled the ball around the receiving core. The defense which was a big positive for this team coming into 2020, picked up right where they left off as they intercepted Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick three times. Reigning defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore had a great pick across the middle of the field to wrap up the first half. As the game wrapped up, Cam could be seen getting into an altercation with former Patriots Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts. In the post game presser, Cam said they were pulling on his chains after the play and he found it highly disrespectful. It will be something to see the next time these two teams square off as Cam got the last laugh.
The defense is going to be a problem all year despite losing players to opt outs and free agency they still are on of the better defensive unites in the NFL. If the team can get added support from the running back spot that will make life for Cam much easier as the teams need a hard-running Sony Michel and healthy Rex Burkhead. The team will be also looking to give second year running back, Damian Harris, touches as he comes back from nursing a wrist injury. The depth in the running back room is key in the season going forward as the team still works out some kinks at the receiver and tight end position.
This Sunday the Patriots will head out west to play to the oddly empty CenturyLink Field. In what is normally one of the loudest environments in all of sports, the stands will obviously be empty when New England takes on Seattle during primetime. The teams hope the game can be played on time with the air quality having a huge effect on the west coast from the wildfires. In his weekly press conference, coach Bill Belichick praised Seattle QB Russell Wilson saying “Honestly, I think in a way he is underrated by the media or the fans, I don’t know. But I don’t really see anybody better than this player.” High praise from coach as the Pats will have their hands full come Sunday as Seattle is very good on both sides of the football.
The Seahawks won their week-1 matchup in Atlanta as they handled business on the road. I am excited to see how the Patriots keep the momentum going with a big prime time matchup out west this Sunday. It is always a classic bout when these two powerhouses go head-to-head so expect nothing less Sunday Night. We cannot forget to mention our old friend Tom who had a rougher Sunday than Cam as he threw two picks in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers loss to the New Orleans Saints. We will see if he can bounce back in his second week without Bill as the Buccaneers take on the Carolina Panthers. It feels great to have football Sundays back and just sports in general and I am ecstatic to be back talking sports all year long!