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A two-pretzel game


This is going to be a great weekend. I can already see myself in the press box, enjoying one of those delicious Gillette Stadium soft pretzels and yellow mustard as I watch Tom Brady battle destiny's darlings, formerly known as the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tasty? Oh, you bet. I love those pretzels.

Oh, you meant the game. Yeah, it's gonna be real tasty, too.

Let's begin with Brady, the best quarterback in the league, by far, and he has been for longer than the Manning-loving, idiot media savants failed to recognize. Now, they're forced to admit it because Brady's got it all: the stats, the records and the championships, and he's on his way to the crowning achievement of all achievements, perfection.

Just another game? Are you kidding? It's not even just another playoff game. Anybody who thinks playoff games – let alone postseason games involving the Patriots this year – are just another game say that because they're afraid of the pressure that goes with admitting these games are played at a higher level and they are special.

This one is truly special, I'll tell you. Why? Because one of two types of games this postseason is going to be historical: either the Patriots' last win or their next loss.

You know what I mean. If they go all the way, the Patriots will have achieved immortality. They will have accomplished what no team had ever previously accomplished and what no team is likely to accomplish any time soon, again; maybe ever. Should they lose, however, then the team that beat them will have achieved a similar form of immortality.

Can the Jaguars do it? Can they be that team?

Hmmm, I don't know. I'd be lying to you if I said I knew they could.

I won't tell you they can't, however, because the Jaguars possess one of the true ingredients for beating the Patriots: The Jaguars can run the ball, dominate time of possession and limit Brady's playing time. Make no mistake, minutes are points. The fewer minutes Brady has the ball, the fewer points the Patriots can be expected to score. That's just simple logic.

My concern is for what might happen in this game if the Jaguars aren't able to run the ball. Let's not forget that the Steelers took the number one and number two rushing games in the league into the 2001 and '04 AFC title games against the Patriots, and the Pats stuffed them both times.

Hey, Bill Belichick knows how to stop the run. Trust me on that one. If that's all you're bringing into the game, then I guarantee – with apologies to Anthony Smith – he'll stop it.

David Garrard is the x factor, of course. Garrard holds the key to the Jaguars' hopes, as you would expect of any quarterback. If Garrard plays well, the Jaguars should be able to run the ball and, at that point, the game is on.

As you no doubt know by now, I have long been accused of possessing man love for Brady, and I stand rightfully accused. I think he may be the best quarterback I've ever seen, and I covered Terry Bradshaw through four Super Bowl titles.

Last Saturday night, against seven defenders and a fierce pass-rush, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 337 yards against the Jaguars. "Big Ben" is a real good quarterback. He's a Super Bowl winner and he's already proven to be a crunch-time player, but he's not Brady. Not even Peyton Manning is Brady. Brady is like no one I've ever seen. I say that because I've never seen a quarterback throw it 32 times in a row.

The Patriots are rightfully overwhelming favorites. They have a great coach, possibly the greatest quarterback of all time, and they're at home in front of their great fans.

So why do I have a feeling this is going to be a two-pretzel game? I don't know. I just do.

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