Coming into this Sunday, the Patriots were the hottest team in football by a mile. They had won seven straight games after starting the season 2-2. They shut up all of the ‘naysayers’ who said that Tom Brady was finished and the dynasty was over. I think most would agree that they could easily be crowned the best team in the AFC at this point in time. Meanwhile, in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers have been sneakily dismantling teams in the NFC.The stage for this week’s match-up was one that was Superbowl caliber and it could be a match-up that we end up seeing in the big game when all is said and done. This game would prove to be the toughest match-up of the year for either team and it played out exactly the way it should’ve. It was a tough-fought game all the way through to the end and neither team was really able to pull away.As much as I hate to do this as a die-hard Patriots fan, I have to tip my cap to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers this week. The old saying goes, “big-time players step up in big games,” and Aaron Rodgers proved that he is in fact a big-time player. He made all the plays that he needed to make for his team to succeed. Every time he needed to step up and escape the pocket and make a clutch throw, he pulled it off and I can do nothing more than give him the respect that he rightfully earned with that performance. He knew the magnitude of that match-up and he handled it accordingly.As much as I wish I could sit here and make excuses about why the Packers beat us, I just can’t do it. It was a hard-earned victory by a great team and a great quarterback. It was just one of those games that could’ve gone either way, and the Packers made the plays that the Pats could not. The Pats, on the other hand, fought through to the very end and were able to keep themselves in it, despite a handful of costly mistakes. This is a simple case of one team’s execution being just a little bit tighter than the other team’s on one given night. I firmly believe that this match-up would be a toss-up no-matter how many times you have them play each other. The exciting part about that is that if these two teams were to meet up again in a Superbowl match-up, we as fans can expect a great championship game.As for the future, I am not worried about the Pats at all. I think the Patriots are capable of beating any team in the NFL right now, including Green Bay if they had another shot at them. And who knows? Maybe this loss is a good thing for New England. I’d like to think that now we will see a fire and a hunger from a team that knows they missed opportunities, and hopefully won’t miss them again.


Jake Coughlin can be contacted at

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