Super Bowl LI may have been eight months ago.
Sure, it was the conclusion of the 2016 season while the Patriots (4-2) and Falcons (3-2) are trying to find their way through the early stages of 2017.
And both teams have certainly undergone changes since February's historic overtime battle.
Though many bristle at calling Sunday night's game at Gillette Stadium a Super Bowl rematch, there has still been plenty of chatter this week about what went down in LI and whether that's relevant to this matchup.
The Boston Globe says that the Falcons are still haunted by their Super Bowl collapse. One wrinkle for New England that the Globe says is different is the big addition that Rob Gronkowski brings to the Patriots offense after missing last winter to a back injury. The Globe also writes that safety Patrick Chung is ready to step up for a Patriots secondary that may once again be without cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Eric Rowe.
The Boston Herald *has Brandin Cooks feeling like he's not yet close to being as good as he can be. The *Herald notes that NFL teams, including the Patriots, aren't really enjoying the usual home-field advantage this season. The *Herald *writes that Atlanta defensive lineman Grady Jarrett presents a huge problem for the Patriots.
The Providence Journal has Falcons QB Matt Ryan saying that the Super Bowl loss to the Patriots is in the past. The* ProJo* passes along New England running back James White believing that the Patriots offense has the potential to be "pretty scary."
ESPNBoston.com looks at the Patriots being the first team in NFL history to allow six straight opponents to throw for more than 300 years and the very good chance that the streak reaches seven on Sunday night. ESPNBoston.com has Nike turning some Super Bowl LI game balls into a unique pair of sneakers. ESPNBoston.com writes about Johnson Bademosi being thrust into a bigger role for the Patriots banged up secondary, the site emphasizing that the absence of Gilmore and Rowe could put the New England defense in a tough spot.
WEEI.com says that Pro Bowl Patriots safety Devin McCourty sort of explained how the team will deal with Falcons star receiver Julio Jones.
Similarly, NBC Sports Boston wonders who will be covering Julio, with a focus on Bademosi. NBC Sports Boston also declares that the Patriots team personality changed this offseason and not for the better.
NFL.com predicts a 30-27 win for the Patriots on Sunday night.
MassLive.com previews Bademosi's potential bad matchup with Jones.
CBSSports.com has a view from a former NFL agent who looks at the Patriots offseason roster moves that don't look nearly as good today as they did in the spring. "Belichick's roster moves have been questionable at best so far. Some have been complete failures."