The New England Patriots proved in their 42-35 win over the Eagles Friday night that the offense is already revving and they have two backups behind Brady that can launch but does this affect their NFL odds for postseason glory?
Waiting In the Wings
I have been a Patriots fan my entire life. Not a rabid, crazed, foaming at the mouth Steve Grogan jersey wearing fanatic but I enjoy them. I enjoy all the Boston sports teams but I am a gambling man first and foremost and would rather watch the Browns versus the Jaguars if I had a C-note on them with a buddy at the bar than watch the Pats sans action. But last night I took a gander at the Patriots/Eagles preseason tilt with nary a nickel to be made and saw a few things that impressed me. Those things happened to be named Jimmy Garoppolo and Ryan Mallet. The Patriots appear to have two talented understudies to the future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady.
If you didn't see, hear or read about the game then it was a game that had more flags than Arlington National Cemetery but also showcased a pair of backups that looked like they're ready for primetime. Second on the depth chart is Ryan Mallet, the four-year man with the cannon arm who gets about a cool million a year to carry a clipboard. Mallet shook off the rust from last week to deliver a robust effort connecting on a 17-yard TD strike to Brian Tyms and then turning a broken play into a six-yard scamper into the endzone.
Rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo continued his impressive play proving why the Patriots went rogue in this year's draft and plucked the Eastern Illinois product late in the second round. Garoppolo accounted for a pair of touchdowns as well but unlike Mallet did not get sacked. The 22-year-old looked cool, calm and collected commandeering the high octane offense of New England.
Thus, it will be interesting to see if Belichick and the brass upstairs have enough confidence in the rookie to finally consider offers for Mallet who becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season. Belichick is not fond of carrying three quarterbacks, preferring to free up one of those spots for a player who will spend more time contributing on the field than a uniformed body strolling the sidelines with a hat on backwards. Needless to say, the triumvirate of Brady, Mallet and Garoppolo proved to be a winning combination against the Eagles as the Patriots covered the 2 ½ point spread in NFL odds in front of their ravenous fans at Foxboro.
But How Did Brady Look?
Then 37-year-old Brady must be living right because he has looked phenomenal in practice and gave a veritable clinic to the defensive backs of both the Redskins and Eagles in preseason scrimmages whom he faced leading up to their two preseason games. Head coach Bill Belichick held Brady out in their first contest in Washington where they lost not only the game but failed to cover the NFL odds as three-point road dogs in a drab 23-6 loss.
But Tom Terrific trotted out under center for the opening series and was promptly intercepted by Cory Williams who deftly avoided tackles while darting his way 77-yards into the endzone. But Brady proved he's been there and done that when he shook off the interception and finished his night on 8 of 10 passing for 81 yards including a 15-yard laser beam to Kenbrell Thompkins for a touchdown.
The Pats are currently installed as the second choice, behind Denver, to win the AFC at +350 in NFL odds by offshore books such as Bet365.com and WilliamHill.com. If you believe Tom Terrific and the boys have it in them to go all the way then you better plunk a few bucks down at Ladbrokes.com who is currently dealing them at +800 in NFL odds to bring another title back to New England.