The New England Patriots’ opening day victory against the Miami Dolphins is already in the rear-view mirror as the team has its sight set on the upcoming primetime matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. It still has a lasting impact, though, in that the game brought some excitement back to a team nobody knew how to assess heading into the regular season.
This is mainly due to one man and how he fit into the Patriots’ new-look offense: Cam Newton, who took over Tom Brady’s former role as New England’s starting quarterback, had a very encouraging debut. Not only did he complete 15 of 19 pass attempts for 155 yards, he also attempted 14 rushing for 76 more as well as a pair of touchdowns. Newton may not have been perfect, but he was a central piece of the Patriots’ attack versus Miami.
The win, which also saw the team’s opportunistic defense — one that also lost considerable talent over the offseason — play at a high level. Add it all up and it is not hard to see why Patriots fans are currently feeling good about the state of the team.
SB Nation’s latest Reacts survey confirms this as well. 92 percent of Patriots fans participating voted that they would feel good about the team’s direction. This marks an 11-point increase compared to the previous week. While the team still ranks as only 13th league-wide in terms of fan confidence, it is obvious that Newton’s first game in a New England uniform plus some encouraging sights elsewhere have fans feel good about its outlook heading into a difficult road game in Seattle.
That game, meanwhile, is a prime time contest for a reason. Not only is it a rematch of Super Bowl 49, it also features two of the better teams in the league that have both won their Week 1 contests. As a result, 51 percent of all NFL fans participating in the latest Reacts survey voted that the game would be the one they are most looking forward to — clearly ahead of the second ranked game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans (24 percent).
While it remains to be seen whether or not the game, and the Patriots as a whole, can live up to the hype, there is no denying that people are excited again about the team. After what has been a challenging offseason for the team this is a welcome change of direction.
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