Two weeks changes a lot

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Two weeks changes a lot

There was a time when we all wondered if the 2012 Patriots might be destined for an undefeated season.

Im not saying we believed that they would, but we just wondered if they might. And that alone speaks volumes about our expectations.

Back then waaay back in early September we looked over the schedule, weighed all the possibilities and even if no one was short-sighted enough to think that 16-0 was all that likely, there were moments even if it was just one moment when you talked yourself into it.

Their toughest games were at home. They had plenty of cupcakes on the road. They had the easiest schedule in the NFL with a BYE week smack dab in the middle and all the talent in the world on their roster. Why couldnt they win every game? Why wouldnt they?

But through all the insane optimism, there was one week that always stood out. The one game all season when the Pats wouldn't be favored, when you could analyze every angle of the match-up and come to a logical conclusion that New England wouldn't and shouldn't come out on top. Week 3: Pats at Ravens.

Back then a whopping two weeks ago the Ravens game was the major, if not only, potential obstacle standing between the Pats and history. Today, it means so much more. It's not a matter of history, but more a matter of reality. The reality that we were all truly out of our minds to ever consider another undefeated season. The reality that the Pats are far from perfect. The reality that this one game now stands between New England and their first 1-2 start in more than a decade.

Of course, even in the worst case scenario, it's not a huge deal. The Pats can and will comeback from a 1-2 start. Remember, they have the easiest schedule in the league, the perfectly placed bye week and still enough talent to challenge their fair share of fantasy teams. But with a loss on Sunday, you know it just won't be that easy. You know you'll have to live through a week of non-stop panic, commotion and listening to the same people who wondered if the Pats might go undefeated now wonder if they might miss the playoffs all together, or if Tom Brady's over the hill or if the game's passed Belichick by.

It will all be crap, but it will be our life.

That threat alone is enough to root like hell for the Pats to pull the upset.

And then we can set our sights on 15-1. What else could go wrong?

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

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.