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Underdog Patriots Optimistic Ahead of Superbowl - 2002-02-03

The Saint Louis Rams and New England Patriots are nearing the kickoff of Super Bowl XXXVI. Despite being 14-point underdogs, the Patriots believe they can win the National Football League's Championship game.

It is a case of good news/bad news for the New England Patriots.

The bad news is that they are facing the Saint Louis Rams, the highest scoring team in the NFL. But the good news is that Patriots' coach Bill Belichick is considered a defensive genius, who can create a game plan to stop any offense.

As underdogs, with few fans expecting New England to win, the Patriots should relax and play better. The pressure will be on Saint Louis star quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk. They are expected to play well and win big.

The Rams beat New England 24-17 when they met in November. Coach Belichick says his team will have to improve to win the Super Bowl. "They won because they outplayed us in that game. And for us to beat them we have to play better. We have got to play better on offense, we have got to play better on defense and we are going to have to make some plays in the kicking game," he said.

Tom Brady is the Patriot's starting quarterback, despite the ankle sprain that knocked him out of last week's AFC Championship game against Pittsburgh. But after watching him play in practice, Belichick says he is ready.

"After watching him for a couple of days I do not think the ankle is going to be really an issue in the game," said his coach.

Later today, we will see how Brady's ankle and the Patriots hold up.