Each season, an NFL team will play a game that the entire fanbase will be on the edge of their seats watching. For the New England Patriots, that opponent usually has Peyton Manning as their quarterback or is coached by Rex Ryan. Instead of hyping yet another Tom Brady/Manning duel or the age old New York Jets rivalry, the real game everyone should be excited for this season is the Patriots against the Green Bay Packers.
The two teams have not met in the regular season since 2010, a game that the Patriots won 31-27 in a fourth quarter comeback. Four years later, the teams still feature two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Brady and Aaron Rodgers. The Patriots have a great supporting cast with Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Shane Vereen and Vince Wilfork, while the Packers still have defensive force Clay Matthews.
The Patriots bought themselves a new-look offense during the offseason, but the Packers acquired some good, young talent on defense. Their first-round draft pick, Ha Ha Clinton Dix, the safety out of Alabama, not only has an outstanding name, but he is a top prospect who should be able to help fill some of the holes from last season’s team.
What makes this game so intriguing is not just the talented rosters on both sides, but the infrequency of the competition. The two teams rarely meet in the regular season and would only meet in the postseason if in the Super Bowl. Since 2000, New England and Green Bay have played only three games, a series that the Patriots are currently winning 2-1. It is easy to get excited about the Broncos or Jets games as a fan of the Patriots, but these are rivalries we see every single season. At some point they will not carry the same weight or anticipation.
Watching Brady go head-to-head with a star quarterback is one thing, but seeing him dismantle a defense is an entirely different form of entertainment for both fans and players. The Patriots will travel to Lambeau Field on Nov. 30, and as we well know, late-season games are often some of the most important ones played. Depending on how the first half of the season goes for both sides, this game may not even matter — or it could be the biggest game both teams have played in years.