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The source for back issues of Staying Patriotic.

For 12/23/2007

To Start or Not To Start

First off, thanks to everyone who's been sending in feedback and comments.

As reader Joe Pickering put it in a comment after last week's article, "Old Man Winter was the 12th man on the field last week against the Jets." For those of you "Stat Masters" out there, I'd be interested to know the last time two teams had a blocked punt in the same game. I couldn't seem to find that written anywhere. Even still, I enjoyed the game. Give me a sloppy nail biter in bad weather to the equivalent in a dome any day. The weather always adds that extra layer of complexity and with that, we as fans get to really assess the true skills of the team and its coaching staff. The best thing about last week's game, however, was that the only thing the Jets had to talk about on the way back to New York was the draft.

So, I'm sure you've all been watching, reading and listening to all the opinions out there on this week's game. Should Belichick rest the starters this week and go with the backups? Should this week's game be treated as a pre-season matchup and just send out the starters for the first quarter? I think this is the first time this season I find myself agreeing with Cris Carter who's saying "treat this game the same as any other game. Send the team out and then see what things look like in the fourth quarter." At the end of the day, a team that's loose is a team that wins, and you just can't stay loose playing 15 minutes of football for the next two weeks with the third week off before the Pats first playoff game. Now keeping in mind the topic of last week's article you know what I don't care about and I'm thinking that Belichick feels the same way. Keep focused on the next game and on the overall status and readiness of the team. And maybe, don't forget about getting that fourth ring.

While I'm expecting a win against Miami and won't miss a minute of the game, I'll also be watching to try and see if I can tell what Belichick is planning for the upcoming weeks. Enjoy the game.