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No one … and I mean NO ONE is going to stop Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts from steamrolling to victory in Super Bowl XLVIII next February (write that down), but Tom Brady and those pesky Patriots from New England are always in the thick of the playoff picture.

In the last dozen years, Brady and Co. have played in five Super Bowls – winning three of them. Brady has also won a pair of Super Bowl MVP awards – to go with his eight Pro Bowl appearances and two NFL MVP awards.

And while we love to cheer against Brady and the Patriots, we’ve developed a grudging respect for the guy – particularly after he rebounded from a knee injury that cost him almost the entire 2008 season.

When Brady is “on,” it is truly special to watch … which is why we were sad to hear that the veteran signal-caller injured his surgically repaired knee during the Patriots practice this week.

According to media reports, the 36-year-old San Mateo native pulled up limp after attempting a pass to wide receiver Aaron Dobson. Brady was not hit on the play – and actually returned to the field and completed several passes after the injury.

Something still didn’t feel right, though, and Brady was forced to leave the field for good.

As much as we’ve ragged on Brady in years past, we hope this injury is nothing serious – and that he will be able to compete at his usual high level in 2013. Love him or hate him, the NFL is a better, more competitive league with Tom Brady under center in New England.

We wish him a speedy recovery …