BOSTON (CBS) — As the 2017 NFL season inches closer, it’s pretty obvious that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are the giants of the league.
Coming off their miraculous Super Bowl LI comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Patriots are favored to once again lift the Lombardi Trophy next February. There are 31 teams looking up at the Patriots with the season just over a week away, a statement that is on full display on the cover of the 2017 NFL Preview issue of Sports Illustrated, with a giant Brady looking poised to stomp the competition:
It was nice of SI to feature such cellar dwellers as the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns so high up on Brady on their cover photo. In Andy Benoit’s preview of the article, which will hit newsstands later this week, he picks the Patriots to defeat the Packers, 31-27, in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis:
I searched for the courage to pick against New England, but common sense kept getting in the way. A team that went 17–2 one year ago has gotten better on both sides of the ball, even if you consider Julian Edelman’s ACL tear. Rob Gronkowski appears to be healthy; electrifying receiver Brandin Cooks arrived from the Saints; and with the additions of Rex Burkhead (Bengals) and Mike Gillislee (Bills), there are now more capable runners on this roster than in the entire central time zone. Then there’s the D, which gave up a league-low 15.6 points per game last year, then added a stud corner, Stephon Gilmore. (Have we even mentioned Messrs. Brady and Belichick?) I’ll go with the Pats over the Pack, who, while talented, run too hot and cold.
We’ll have to wait a few months to see if the Patriots will add another Super Bowl, but Brady has yet another cover photo to add to his vast collection. The Patriots quarterback was also featured on the cover of this year’s Madden, which was released last week. Both carry a certain superstitious aura with them, but given his arsenal on offense and New England’s stout defense, there’s a good chance that Brady and company can overcome both of the so-called curses.
The Brady cover is one of four regional covers SI revealed on Tuesday, with Houston’s J.J. Watt, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Arizona’s David Johnson rounding out the collection: