New England at Green Bay features the two best teams with the most potent offenses in the NFL at the moment.
It's being billed in some quarters as a Super Bowl preview and, if so, watch how Pats coach Bill Belichick and Packers counterpart Mike McCarthy react to each other's moves. If nothing else, this meeting figures to be an important test of their wills.
Belichick is the NFL's version of a mad scientist, a strategist who's willing to overhaul his game plan from week to week, in part because he has quarterback Tom Brady to anchor the offense and enough mix-and-match defenders to play a variety of schemes.
McCarthy, too, has proved plenty adaptable during his nine seasons in charge at Green Bay. But his coaching philosophy was formed early in his career, and with Aaron Rodgers, an equally smart, adaptable and accurate quarterback in his corner, he's more likely to take a nip-and-tuck approach to change rather than a face-lift.
McCarthy learned the virtue of patience nearly 30 years ago, as a skilled but undersized Pittsburgh prep star looking to play tight end in college. He wound up at tiny Baker University (enrollment: 3,200 students) outside of Kansas City, a football powerhouse in NAIA play. What McCarthy didn't know at the time was that the Wildcats' dominance was built on an option running game.