It’s that time of year again when everybody starts claiming that the Patriots’ dynasty is over, and they have a chance to prove everybody wrong.
For the past five or so years, the Patriots have dealt with rumblings of “the end of the dynasty” after a disappointing loss or a bad game by Tom Brady. These are usually followed up by big time wins from New England that feel like they were letting everyone know that they were still here. Last year it was the game against the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round of the playoffs after ending the regular season 2-2, and the year before that was the AFC Championship against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It makes sense that the media has been trying to predict the end of the New England dynasty because the majority of football fans want to see it crumble, but New England always seems to come out on top. I believe Saturday will be no different.
New England needs to have a huge game from both sides of the ball to beat a very good Tennessee team, but I think they’ve had enough of people saying that they’re done and Brady’s too old, and all that nonsense. On top of that, the Patriots lost to the Titans last year and there are a lot of connections between the two teams that may raise the level of competition just a little bit more. Ryan Tannehill is the current starter for the Tennessee Titans and has four career wins against the Patriots, one being the “Miami Miracle” that took place last December against the Dolphins, but has never won in New England. Titans head coach, Mike Vrabel, was a player on the Patriots in the early 2000’s and was a big part of the team’s success and remains a close friend to Tom Brady. Logan Ryan and Dion Lewis were also members of the Patriots before landing in Tennessee and were both on the Titans for their win over New England last season.
These connections may be just a little bit of extra motivation for each team, but the Patriots are focused, have a heightened sense of urgency, and have enough motivation with all of the outside noise. Brady acknowledged that noise last year after their dominant win over the Chargers in the divisional round by saying:
“I know everyone thinks we suck, and we can’t win any games, so we’ll see. It’ll be fun.”
This feels very similar to that. The only difference being that New England is dealing with even more people saying they’re no good and the Titans are going to end the dynasty. There is a lot on the line for the Patriots and this is a huge offseason for the team that very well could change the dynamic of the dynasty. Tom Brady has emphasized that the team cannot take these games for granted and it’s important to understand how difficult it is to get the playoffs and win once you get there. The Patriots once again are poised with a great chance to shut everyone up and prove all the doubters wrong, it’s all up to them to take advantage of the opportunity.