Patriots continue their Week 1 dominance

877941.jpg

Patriots continue their Week 1 dominance

File this under Stats That Mean Nothing: With yesterdays victory in Nashville, the Patriots have won nine straight Week 1 match-ups.

It all started in September of 2004, when Mike Vanderjagt went Scott Norwood at Gillette. The next year, the Pats took down Randy Gene and the Raiders. The year after that, they needed a late-game safety to squeak by the Bills.

In 2007, they destroyed the Jets. In 2008, they beat the Chiefs on an afternoon that defined bittersweet. It was the Bills again in 2009, the Bengals in 2010 and, last year, the Pats jump-started their run to the Super Bowl by embarrassing the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.

Of course, as earlier stated, it really doesnt matter. Around these parts, we know better than to get too hopped up on anything we see in Week 1.

Today, Stevan Ridleys a hero, the kid whos ready to revolutionize the Pats offense. However, one big fumble next week against Arizona, or two weeks from now in Baltimore or at any point over the next few months, and its Panic at the Disco. You can already hear the callers on Felger and Mazz: They cant count on this guy, fellas . . . bring back Sammy Morris!

Today, Wes Welkers the forgotten man. Hes splitting snaps with Julian Edelman. Hes no longer integral to the offense. Over the next five months, his value will diminish so abruptly that hell be begging the Pats to slap him with another franchise tag.

Or, maybe it was just one bad game.

Hell, maybe he wasnt feeling well? Whatever it is, heres a question: Would you bet your next paycheck against Welker having another 100-catch season? Would it absolutely blow your mind if he rips off nine catches for 90 yards and a TD next week? Seriously. If the Pats planned on simply phasing No. 83 out this year, why even franchise him? Dont you think Belichick could have come up with a few better ways to spend 9.5M?

Today, the rag tag offensive line that could do no right in the pre-season and nearly cost Tom Brady his nose in yesterday's first quarter might not be so bad. According to Greg Bedard at the Globe, Brady was only hit three times all game, and was hurried only five times on top of that. Today, the notion that the Pats are screwed without Brian Waters has been replaced by: "Waters? Who needs him!?"

But we all know that it only takes one hit in one game to change the entire narrative. That the entire offensive line is perpetually one play away from being remembered as a failure. Regardless of how unfair that might be.

OK, you get it. When it comes to Week 1 of the NFL season, nothing is real. Its the prologue to an 800-page novel, the opening credits in a four-hour action film and any grand statement made in its aftermath will likely leave you feeling stupid.

At the end of the day, you can only hope for two things:

1. No major injuries.

2. A win and even that's taken with a grain of salt the size of Vince Wilforks belly button.

But of course, it beats the alternative. And for the ninth straight year, the Pats have done just that. Save for 2008, when Brady's injury left all of New England paralyzed by depression, they've emerged from the NFL's opening weekend on the right foot, with no ceiling on what they can achieve. The sky's the limit, and even that feels a little restrictive.

Then again, the jury's still out on how crazy that last line will look come January.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

pats_back_brady_525_1280x720_692941891994.jpg

Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization have been saying for a long time that they hope Tom Brady prevails in his fight with the league over Deflategate. Kraft reiterated that stance on Tuesday at the NFL's annual spring meetings.

But on Wednesday, the Patriots took their support for Brady to a different platform. The team has filed an amicus brief stating that it supports Brady and the NFLPA now that the union has filed a petition to be granted a rehearing by the Second Circuit. 

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, it is a noteworthy move because the last time an NFL team took legal action against league was when late Raiders owner Al Davis sued the NFL. It is important to note, though, as SI.com's Michael McCann explains, that the Patriots have not actually "switched sides" in this instance. As one of 32 teams in the league, they are technically still a part of the NFL Management Council et al. v. NFL Players Association et al. With its amicus brief, however, the team is advocating for a rehearing of a case that the NFL recently won. 

Filing the brief may not necessarily have any legal impact on the case -- judges can ignore the team's opinion in its amicus brief if they so choose -- but its value may be more than simply symbolic in nature. Attorney Daniel Wallach notes that the team's amicus brief covers ground that Brady's petition for rehearing couldn't cover due to page limits. 

On the first page of the amicus brief, in the document's second footnote, the language is strong: "From the outset of this matter, the League's conduct reflects less a search for the truth than pursuit of a pre-determined result and defense of a report which, despite no direct evidence of tampering or Mr. Brady's involvement, was reiled on to impose penalties with no precedent or correlation to the alleged offense."

The Patriots have continued to update The Wells Report in Context, a website that argues the findings of the NFL's investigation into Brady that has also accumulated various reports and scientific studies that support Brady's innocence. But this amicus brief is another way for the team to show that it has its quarterback's back. 

The NFLPA filed its petition for a rehearing on Monday and now awaits a decision from the 13 judges of the Second Circuit as to whether or not they will grant Brady a rehearing.

Statistically speaking, Brady is facing long odds to be given a rehearing, but his legal team believes there's reason for optimism