Niners and Pats take stage for electric duel


As an East Bay baby raised bleeding for Northern California teams, I can’t stand the New England Patriots.

I know Tom Brady is a local boy and that nobody can make the press look like a bunch of blubbering numbskulls quite like Bill Belichick.

While I respect them, I still don’t like them. I never enjoy watching them play, let alone watch them win — except during the playoffs last season when they creamed the Denver Broncos. That, my friends, was a beautiful thing.

Even so, I really have no love for this football franchise, this dynasty that is the New England Patriots.

So, as you all can imagine, I’m quite intrigued by this Sunday’s matchup, in which golden boy Brady and his East Coast pack will host the San Francisco 49ers in Foxborough.

And no, I’m not excited just because I want to witness Senor Harbaugh making some incomprehensible “gobble gobble turkey”-esque comment about Belichick’s ratty hoodies. (Although I’d be lying if I said something like that wouldn’t totally make my weekend.)

But these two teams, who almost never see each other during the regular season, are at the top of their respective divisions. And these two playoff contenders are going to use each other as punching bags to assert their dominance on Sunday Night Football.

Needless to say, I’m hoping the Niners punch a little harder.

Ah, football. So much beauty in a bunch of guys bashing each other into the turf.

The Chron’s Ann Killion puts it quite eloquently:

“The Patriots are what the 49ers once were. And the 49ers want desperately to become what the Patriots are. … This is a nationally televised pivot point for the 49ers, a chance to assert their newfound dominance and reclaim a piece of their past.”

I’m a little less poetic: I think the Niners’ d-line wants to make the Pats offense cry.

The Niners’ No.2-ranked defense against the pats No.5-ranked passing game? The opportunity to keep Wes Welker from becoming “the first player in NFL history with five seasons of 100 or more catches,” at least for one more week?

That alone would make me want to watch this game.

And while both teams are division leaders, their chemical makeup at the helm couldn’t be more different. Colin Kaepernick is looking at his fourth career NFL start; Tom Brady is trying to get to his sixth Superbowl.

But Killion does make an excellent point: The Niners are still trying to prove to the national fo0tball media that they are worth the same respect as the Pats. And New England is aiming to be recognized in the record books in the same breath as the Joe Montana-era 49ers.

Brady can emulate Montana all he wants, it still doesn’t make me want to see him win.

Above all, the fact that these two clubs rarely see each other ups the suspense and intrigue. San Francisco and New England haven’t met up for a regular season fete since 2008, and Randy Moss was in a Patriots jersey back then. And the Niners haven’t beat the Patriots since 1995, which I think makes them past due for an upset.

My prognosis? It will be an electric match, with San Francisco’s defense trying to silence New England’s pass game on their home turf. And if the Niners could get the win, that would be even better.

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