The Patriots host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, pitting Brady against Philip Rivers. Rivers and the Bolts were on the wrong side of back-to-back playoff losses to the Patriots in 2007 and 2008, but a few analysts have the Chargers as a Super Bowl pick this season.
If so, Sunday's game could be a prelude to another playoff battle.
The question is where Rivers ranks on the list of the guys opposite Brady. The Pats didn't have much trouble getting inside the heads of Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner and Donovan McNabb. A choice few have enjoyed at least some success.
There have been epic showdowns with Peyton Manning and one excrutiating Super Bowl loss to Eli Manning. Mark Sanchez has emerged in recent years as a chief rival, helped by the fact that the Pats see Sanchez and the Jets at least two times every season.
Brady held the advantage over Peyton Manning until the Colts broke through in the 2006 AFC Championship Game. They haven't met up in the playoffs since, and unless Manning makes a miraculous comeback, they won't meet this year, either.
Ever since the Patriots wrapped up their 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, New England fans have found comfort knowing that they had the best quarterback on the field every time their team kicked off. Being the second-best signal-caller in the building isn't too bad if the other guy is Brady.