Friday, September 05, 2008
What, Me Worry?
I think the trauma of Super Bowl XLII is wreaking havoc on Patriot fans. I heard one call WEEI yesterday and claim that Stephen Gostkowski "cost them some games" last year. Beyond the idiocy of the opinion was the fact that he used the plural 'games' when the Patriots lost just ONE game.
Let's face it, the Patriots don't have that mystique about them anymore. Back in 2001, 2003, and 2004, they would take on anyone, often as an underdog or slim favorite, and win. They were invincible in the playoffs.
But the last three seasons they've been very beatable. They've found ways to lose in the postseason instead of vice versa. In January 2007, they blew a 21-6 half-time lead in Indy, allowing 22 second half points. Brady's two picks against Denver abruptly ended the 2005 season.
This is why I'm not worried about Brady's foot, or any of the other regular season malarkey or hype. The regular season seems pedestrian now, at least to me. If Brady plays in 13 or more games, is there any doubt that the Pats will make the playoffs?
The AFC East is still a relatively weak division. Buffalo and Miami have improved a bit, but remain mediocre at best. The Jets acquired Favre, but the mainstream media have conveniently forgotten how much he sucked in 2005 and 2006. Dallas is the sexy pick to win it all, but Tony Romo hasn't won a big game in his life, and Wade Phillips is a shell of a coach. San Diego and Indianapolis will be good, but still beatable, just like last year.
I'm not saying the Patriots will walk to a divisional title. No NFL team, not even Miami, is a total pushover. But I'm not going to get excited or worried until January. That's when the Patriots separated themselves from the rest of the League in '01, '03' and '04. And that's when they've collapsed in '05, '06, and '07.
So even if Brady doesn't play and/or the Chiefs win on Sunday, it still won't be panic time.
Season prediction: 14-2, AFC East Champions, then God only knows in the postseason.
Week 1 prediction: New England 31, Kansas City 13.