Hey, it's Patriots time!
As you know, the Falcons have been practicing with those murderous rogues from the frozen north, and now we've got a chance to watch them duke it out. As you might expect, we'll have the open thread for the game available shortly before kickoff. I had the opportunity to talk a little football with Derek Hanson of Foxboro Blog.
If you notice a similarity between the questions he asked me and the questions I "asked" him, it's because they are indeed identical. Derek was kind enough to simply answers four of his own questions given my insanely busy work schedule, which is much appreciated. The answers are still damn good, though.
Before I take you over the jump to question land, be sure to also check out the fine folks at Pats Pulpit, our SB Nation Patriots blog, who are taking your questions at the top of the FanPosts section. Onward!
What are you the most excited about heading into the 2010 season?
Derek Hanson: I'm excited about watching all of our young players. Throughout the Patriots storied run last decade, they were always referred to as a "veteran" team. For the first time in a long time, I would actually characterize this team as "young". The Patriots have had a slew of draft picks the past two seasons, and a lot of them appear to be quality additions. , Sebastian Vollmer, Patrick Chung, , Aaron Hernandez, , Devin McCourty, Brandon Spikes, Darius Butler - these are names that you Falcons fans might not be overly familiar with, but I have a feeling that over the next few years you'll know many of these guys the same way you did Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown.
What do you think the Patriots' weak point is?
Derek Hanson: Last week, I would have answered that the Patriots' weakness was the outside linebacker position. However, Derrick Burgess, who was contemplating retirement, has decided to play for the team and should really help to bolster that position, which was looking very thin. This week, I'd have to say its our lines. The loss of Ty Warren has now created a huge gap on the defensive line and our top offensive lineman, Logan Mankins, continues to refuse to sign his tender. It could be an ominous sign that our top linemen on both sides of the ball last season will likely not play a down for us in 2010. I'm really hoping that their replacements can step up and fill the voids they've left.
What is your prediction for the Patriots this season?
Derek Hanson: They have Brady. They have Belichick. That automatically makes them contenders. However, if the Colts are as good as they were last year, I have a hard time seeing this young team defeat Indy in the playoffs. I say the Pats take the AFC East, they win their home wild card round game, and then they fall in the divisional round.
What is your prediction for the Falcons this year?
Derek Hanson: The Saints are obviously the safe pick in the NFC South and I can't say I'm willing to go out on a limb. Still, unexpected things happen every year in the NFL and the Falcons could be poised to overtake them. I'll put the Dirty Birds in the playoffs, and even go so far as to have them pull an upset on the road in the Wild Card round.
Thanks to Derek for taking the time!