New England Patriots: Belichick Lost Faith In Brady!

You can disagree all you want, but if, as Bill Belichick claims, he meant to kick-off starting O/T against the New York Jets Sunday there can only be one reason. He lost confidence in Tom Brady’s ability to pull off another miracle comeback, and that’s sad. Brady has made a career out of pulling the team out of the fire, often with limited resources.

The officials meet New York Jets' Darrelle Revis (24), teammate Calvin Pryor (25) and New England Patriots' Matthew Slater (18) and teammate Rob Ninkovich (50) for the coin toss before the overtime period resulting in highly questionable Patriots decision (AP hoto/Peter Morgan)
The officials meet New York Jets’ Darrelle Revis (24), teammate Calvin Pryor (25) and New England Patriots’ Matthew Slater (18) and teammate Rob Ninkovich (50) for the coin toss before the overtime period resulting in highly questionable Patriots decision (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

Those making the claim that he was playing it smart because the defense was playing well (428 yards) and the offense looked stagnant are missing the point. You probably are right in his reasoning, but how many times does Brady have to carry the team on his back to victory for the Head Coach to trust him to do it again?

Instead, by electing to kick, Brady never had a chance to touch the ball. No one can predict what would have happened if the Pats had elected to receive. They may very well have still lost…but at least you gave it your best shot by putting the ball in the hands of the greatest QB in NFL history.

After the game Belichick stuck by his call and said he wouldn’t have changed his decision. “We just didn’t play good enough defense.”

No one takes Rob Gronkowski (87) down one on one ( New York Jets' Antonio Cromartie (31) (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)
No one takes Rob Gronkowski (87) down one on one ( New York Jets’ Antonio Cromartie (31) (AP Photo/Peter Morgan)

Always outspoken Rob Gronkowski had this to say “You always want a shot to score,”  “It is what it is.”

And finally, the always politically correct Tom Brady said “Whatever coach decides, that’s what the team does,”

Jet’s receiver Brandon Marshall was shocked by the call. “After the game Josh McDaniels came up to me, my old ball coach in Denver, and I asked ‘What were you guys thinking?’ Marshall said, via CSN New England. He explained to me the situation a little bit but I didn’t believe him.”

As the Head Coach said “I clearly thought that was our best opportunity, so that’s why we did it. I didn’t like the way it worked out, but to me that was the right decision for our team at that time.”

History Repeats Itself

It reminded many Patriot long timers of a call Belichick made on November 11, 2009. New England was ahead of Indianapolis 34-28 with 4th and 2 at their own 28. With just over 2 minutes remaining common sense said punt, but instead the Head Coach went for it… and failed on a controversial call. The  Colts took over and scored an easy TD to win 35-34.

Later Belichick said “I thought it was our best chance to win (sounds familiar). I thought we needed to make that one play and then we could basically run out the clock. We weren’t able to make it.”

A few other factors came into play in that game:

  1. They were facing Payton Manning in his prime and didn’t want to give him the ball with an opportunity to win
  2. The New England defense was struggling after the offense built a 17 point lead (In other words he didn’t trust it to hold the lead)

Former Patriots disagreed vehemently with the call – Rodney Harrison called it “the worst coaching decision I’ve ever seen Bill Belichick make.”

Tedy Bruschi said, “The decision to go for it would be enough to make my blood boil for weeks. … I would look at this decision as a lack of confidence in our ability as a defensive unit to come up with a big play to win the game.”

Sorry fans, but it was a bad call in 2009 and just as bad Sunday!

On To Miami

The good news is, the loss really didn’t cost the Patriots their chance to host all their post-season games up to the Super Bowl. A win Sunday in Miami and the season has been a complete success no matter what happens between the Broncos and Bengals. Achieving 100% of their goals for the regular season is astounding considering the injuries they have overcome.

Game Notes:

  • The Patriots sat their walking wounded with the exception of Dant’a Hightower. It cost them, but was worth it to give Devon McCourty, Patrick Chung, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman another day of rest.
  • The loss of McCourty & Chung was noticeable throughout the game and particularly in O/T when confusion in the secondary resulted in a 48-yard completion to Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa on the second play of overtime
  • Not a bad game by Brady, but also not one of his best. 22 for 31, 231 yards, 1 TD & 1 bad interception when he and Gronkowski seemed to be on a different page.
  • Steven Jackson made his 1st appearance in a Patriot uniform. As expected he looked a little rusty, carrying the pigskin 7 times for 15 yards
  • Brandon LaFell was the forgotten man with just 1 reception for 9 yards
  • James White had the only TD by the offense (leading to Belichick’s O/T thought process?)
  • A strip sack fumble caused by Jabaal Sheard resulted in 7 by the
    Jabaal Sheard (93) strips the ball from New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    Jabaal Sheard (93) strips the ball from New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    defense when Jamie Collins recovered the ball and ran it 14 yards for New England’s 1st TD

  • The Patriots were 1 for 10 on 3rd down, leading to their demise (hurry back Edelman & Amendola)
  • The defense gave up 428 net yards while the offense could muster just 284

So, now it’s time to move ahead. It will be interesting to see who suits up against the Dolphins. With Sebastian Vollmer going down the offensive line is once again in shambles, so it is anyone’s guess as to who (whom???) plays where.

Sebastian Vollmer (76) is carted off the field during the first half (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Sebastian Vollmer (76) is carted off the field during the first half (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

 

 

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Jets Drop the Patriots in OT: Three Takeaways

Look, if Bill Belichick told me to light myself on fire and play Russian Roulette in the process, the first thing I’d ask if where is the match and who has the revolver? Did I scowl at the notion that he instructed Matthew (AC) Slater to kick off in overtime rather than receive? Absolutely, it is my job to question decisions like that. I love how the four letter network (ESPN) is talking more about Slater’s call than Peyton and his wife being part of some HGH drug cartel. Is Mark Brunell crying yet? Regardless, our boys dropped a close one yesterday. A few things became very apparent in yesterday’s loss to the New Jersey Jets. Before anyone jumps down my throat on this one, they play in New Jersey, not in New York.

Numero Uno – Belichick didn’t trust the Patriots offense. Plain and simple. Our hero spent more time on his back than he did on his honeymoon with Giselle. He was harassed all day and Marcus Cannon resembled a turn-style at times. Sea Bass went down with some sort of ankle injury, and it just snowballed from there. I can’t count how many tackles and offensive linemen this team has blown through, but the count is climbing by the week. You brought back the exiled Chris Harper, Brandon Lafell was virtually a non-factor, and Gronkowski was the only guy Brady really trusted throughout the day. And the running game resembled something you’d see from a Pop Warner team running east to west instead of north to south. Combine that with the defense playing fairly decent in the fourth quarter, Bill rolled the dice and lost.

Second – Malcolm Butler Gets Beat…. A lot. Look, the guy never has to buy another drink in the New England region ever again. He made the biggest play in Super Bowl history and murdered the Seahawks in the process. However, he is CONSTANTLY out of position, struggles against bigger/physical receivers, and really struggles in press coverage. Having said that, he is the best cornerback they have and will be an important cog in the defensive machine come January. He is a young player and he should grow into a top tier cornerback. But let’s not anoint him the next Deion Sanders. He is a glorified James Sanders at this stage of his career, minus the murder of the Seahawks.

Lastly – Winning The Coin Toss Means Squat – I love the kill them, go into halftime, and kill them again trick as much as the next guy. We’ve seen it more times than I can remember from Brady and the Patriots. I still can’t wrap my head around sitting on the ball at the thirty-five yard line with two time outs before the half. Isn’t the point of deferring to get an extra possession to end the half and start the second half with the ball? This is the fourth time, FOURTH, that they have done it this year. I don’t want to hear injuries are a part of this either. You have the best quarterback and best kicker on the planet, whom very rarely let you down. Put some stock in them and let them do what they do best.

But let’s bring things back to reality for a second. The number one seed is still well within reach. Indianapolis went down there and beat them with a guy who has a ponytail. Yes, he has a legit ponytail. I’m hoping Miami crawls into their off season hole by halftime and we can see Jimmy G sling it for a bit to close out the game. Pittsburgh is on the outside looking in and Kansas City all but wrapped up the five seed. More than likely they will be heading to Houston and the Jets will head to play the Bengals or the Broncos. I could care less who ends up where, because if this team gets healthy, Giselle and the other wives should just start booking wine tastings in Napa now for the first week of February.

NFL Week Sixteen Power Rankings

One of the greatest movies of all time is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Russ turns out to be Leonard from The Big Bang Theory, while Ellen Griswold owned 1989 with the Farrah Fawcett look and most likely gave Chevy Chase the business daily in the actors trailer. The scene with Clark Griswold hitting on the smoke behind the underwear counter never gets old, and the “kiss my ass, kiss his ass, kiss your ass” part gets me every time. Another thing that doesn’t get old is securing first round byes before Santa squeezes his fat ass down the chimney, and making sure the road to the Super Bowl comes through Foxboro. This was the type of game you throw money on just to keep it interesting. The Titans were shoved into a locker from the opening snap, and the contest was never really in question. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure why we even play these games anymore. This coming weekend, the Patriots head to New Jersey to play the Jets. I’d love to wrap up home field Sunday, but I’d rather come out of it healthy more than anything. Winning isn’t priority number one to me on Sunday. Regardless of how much better our hero is than anyone else on the planet, you can only overcome so many injuries. This is our final rankings of the season, so a big thank you to all who read throughout the year or wished ill will upon me and my family. I love you all! My next venture just started this past weekend with the New England Liberty of the Legends Football League. Odds are they win each game by a million and steal the other team’s lunch money while doing it.

1) Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton is the media’s MVP pick. I get it, trust me. However, look at his stats compared to every other QB in the discussion. Outside of his rushing touchdowns, he isn’t atop any of them.

2) New England Patriots – Forget football, did you see the Brady family Christmas tree? It had the perfect shape, dead on balls accurate ratio of lights to ornaments, and a tree skirt probably is the shroud of Turin. I don’t even want to begin to think of what actually goes under the tree from Santa. There are toys under that thing people don’t even dare speak about. On a side note, what do you think Tommy buys Super G each year? Does he go basic white dad? No chance in hell. Regardless, we are all just waiting with baited breath for the Happy New Year Facebook post from the Brady family. It is like that Christmas card you can’t wait to get each year. Guaranteed to have melt your face off kind of heat coming from TB12 this holiday season. #FamilyGoals

3) Arizona Cardinals – Losing The Honey Badger for the year is a massive blow to the Birds. Do you still trust Carson Palmer in the playoffs? I don’t, only because he is 1/8 of a ginger.

4) Cincinnati Bengals – The quarterback with the top 5 wife in the NFL better play top 5 football in Denver this week. Do yourself a favor and Google AJ McCarron’s wife. You’re welcome.

5) Seattle Seahawks – Pete was standing on top of a locker after his team’s win. I’m sorry Pete, that won’t bring you back from the dead. I saw you die in Arizona once Malcolm Butler picked off that pass.

6) Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb definitely hit up the best circuit club in Oakland after their win. He has no idea what to do with a woman like Olivia Munn.

7) Denver Broncos – Denver could very well miss out on the playoffs with two straight losses. I’d give anything to see John Elway’s head explode during week seventeen.

8) Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs have a shot to win the AFC West. They need Justin Houston back to make any noise in the playoffs though. Justin Houston is the doppelganger of Ecko from Lost.

9) Pittsburgh Steelers – Antonio Brown has legit antennas carved into his haircut.

10) New Jersey Jets – Want me to believe in the Jets? Go beat Tommy this weekend in New Jersey.

11) Minnesota Vikings – Minnesota better hope AP just has a mild ankle sprain. Their season and life depends on the stability of the Switch King.

12) Oakland Raiders – Oakland could very well be playing their final game at home on Christmas Eve.

13) Houston Texans – Houston is going to be a playoff team. Their starting quarterback could very well be the Amy Schumer lookalike.

14) Washington Redskins – You like that?!?!

15) Atlanta Falcons – Not many folks picked the Falcons on Sunday, this game basically wrapped up the Voodoo Brown Office Pool title for me.

16) Buffalo Bills – Buffalo is a train wreck in every sense of the word.

17) Indianapolis Colts– Chuck Pagano should start packing his office up now.

18) Philadelphia Eagles – The sooner Philadelphia moves to a 4-3 defense, the sooner they can get out of their own way.

19) New Jersey Giants – OBJ said he was afraid the Panthers were carrying black bats around the field in pregame. Did they think they were going to Tonya Harding him?

20) St. Louis Rams – The Rams may be the biggest enigma on the planet. I can’t figure them out for the life of me.

21) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tampa Bay is back to doing Tampa Bay things.

22) Miami Dolphins – Miami should stick to strip clubs and plastic surgery.

23) Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford may be improving, but the offensive line better get better before 2016. He is another one with a Top 5 NFL significant other.

24) New Orleans Saints – The Saints should shut down Drew Brees for the season. His ankle is toast and watching his defense resembles seven on seven drills.

25) Chicago Bears – Matt Forte should be getting the ball far more than he is. John Fox resorted back to being John Fox again.

26) San Diego Chargers– You have to respect Phillip Rivers’ passion for the game. You also have to respect he has twenty seven children.

27) Jacksonville Jaguars – I’m still waiting for someone to tell me their best Jacksonville pool suite story. Free t-shirt to the person who does.

28) Cleveland Browns – The record may not show it, but the Browns are still playing inspired football.

29) Dallas Cowboys – Dallas’ season is officially OVER. It is time for Jerry to go get another nip and tuck.

30) San Francisco 49ers – If you lose to AJ McCarron at home, it is safe to say things aren’t going well.

31) Baltimore Ravens – Murdered, AFC Divisional Round 2015.

32) Tennessee Titans – I was close about Mariota not leaving Foxboro alive. Chances are he is shut down for the season.

New England Patriots: Play The Subs…PLEASE!

Another goal was reached Sunday when the New England Patriots routed the terrible (3-11) Tennessee Titans 33-16 in their final regular season game at Gillette Stadium. The win brought the beat-up, battered bodies of the home team to 12-2, but, more importantly, Denver’s loss to Pittsburgh guaranteed them a first round bye. The Patriots have now earned that honor for an NFL-record six consecutive seasons.

Malcolm Butler had a big game, including this interception in the end zone in front of Harry Douglas (83) (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Malcolm Butler had a big game, including this interception in the end zone in front of Harry Douglas (83) (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

How’s This For The Most Dominant Team In This Decade

  • Second team to ever have at least 6 straight 12 win seasons
  • Most seasons earning a bye since 12 team playoff format since 1990
  • 5 sacks against Tennessee and at least one sack in every game in 2015
  • Bill Belichick is 55-11 (.833) in December with New England, the best record in December among head coaches with one team in NFL history (min. 25 games)
  • Tom Brady tied Peyton Manning for the NFL record with the most seasons with 35 TDs (4)

The Patriots wrap up the season with road games in NY against the Jets and Miami to take on the Dolphins. They need to win one of those two games to assure home field advantage up to the Super Bowl. How important is home field? Well, since 1996 the Patriots are 17-3 playing at home in the real games. ‘Nuf said?

So, Who Do You Rest & When?

With injuries piling up every week the question arises, at what point do you start resting some of the walking wounded? The answer seems simple, NOW.

We all know Tom Brady will grit it out until the end, but even with a rotation of healthy running backs (James White has really stepped up and who wasn’t impressed with Joey Iosefa, oh yeah, and now Steven Jackson), enough WRs to get by (Brandon LaFell, Keshawn Martin, Leonard Hankerson Chris Harper) and the World’s greatest tight end (no need to name him is there?) New England should be able to win one, if not both of their remaining games.

Let Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman get as healthy as possible. Keep them on the bench until the games really matter, 4 weeks from now.

The defense continues to shine, so sitting Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung shouldn’t matter. Yes, all 3 are critical players if the team is to play in Super Bowl 50, but right now they can be replaced in the short run.

Defense Shines Again

Akiem Hicks recovers the ball for a TD after it was stripped from Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Akiem Hicks recovers the ball for a TD after it was stripped from Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Despite an understandable let-up in the second half the defense once again dominated. The list of players impressing grows game-to-game. This week it was Akiem Hicks turn to step up with a strip-sack (Chandler Jones featured photo) fumble recovery for a TD, a sack of his own, 4 tackles and constant pressure up the middle.

  • Chandler Jones had a two-sack game, bringing his season total to 12 1/2
  • New England is tied for 1st with Denver in team sacks (47)
  • The Patriots are now in the Top 10 in all key defensive stats…Points (7th), Yards (6th), Passing (8th), Rushing (10th)

Next Game: 1PM Sunday vs the Jets

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

 

 

Rory’s Corner: Week 15 NFL Picks

I have a confession to make. Last night I watched everything I could besides the football game. Sure I flipped over a few times. But I chose Cavs-Thunder over the football game. I watched the Avalanche play the Islanders in hockey over the football game. Heck, I even watched some women’s volleyball over the football game. I’m not naive, I know that the football game probably still embarrassed those others in ratings, but I’m tired of these Thursday night games. They’re horrible, they usually involve bad teams, the quality of play is wretched, and they’re largely unwatchable. On to Week 15.

Jets (-3.5) over COWBOYS

The Cowboys are horrible. I’m not going to pick them with Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, or whatever pedestrian quarterback they want to bring in over the Jets who are a playoff team. Fitzpatrick’s played well the last few weeks, they have some real talent on the perimeter, and their defense is going to eat the Cowboys alive. This is one of the easiest picks of the week.

VIKINGS (-6) over Bears

I don’t feel good about this, I don’t like laying this many points with the Vikings but they need to win this game. They’re trying to keep pace with the Packers, and one thing you can say about the Vikings this year is that outside of the opening game in San Francisco, they’ve taken care of teams they should take care of.

JAGUARS (-3) over Falcons

Is it crazy to say that the Jaguars have the third best offense in the AFC? With no Andy Dalton, it might not be. They just put up 51 points against the Colts who are a possible playoff team. And since Week 5, no one has thrown for more touchdowns than Blake Bortles. Forget the Brady/Cam debate, Blake Bortles for MVP!

Texans (Even) over COLTS

I’m so excited for the T.J. Yates vs. Charlie Whitehurst showdown to possibly decide the AFC South. There’s only about 498 things I would rather watch. I’ll pick the Texans because they do have J.J. Watt, a real defense, and some playmakers on offense. Plus T.J. Yates has won a playoff game, and Charlie Whitehurst looks like some annoying douche who plays guitar, smokes weed, and acts like he’s so much smarter than you because he’s “finding himself” or something. That’s not what I want in my quarterback.

GIANTS (+4.5) over Panthers

If the Panthers win this game they’re going 16-0. But they’re banged up, and their defense has proven to be vulnerable to vertical offenses like the Saints. The Giants offense is really starting to get going, Jason Pierre-Paul is getting better every play, and Odell Beckham is the best receiver in the league right now. I like the Giants at home for the upset.

PATRIOTS (-14) over Titans

Remember the last two weeks when we were freaking out about the Patriots? Now they’re in first place in the AFC, they have the best pass rush they’ve had in years, Gronk’s healthy and the only real threat in the AFC, Pittsburgh, isn’t even in the playoffs right now. It must be so frustrating to root against the Patriots, if you do I hope you enjoyed the last two weeks because it’s back to reality for you.

Bills (-1.5) over REDSKINS

This game opened as a pick ’em, then quickly moved to the Bills -1.5. The Redskins aren’t a great team. The Bills roster is much better than the Redskins, but of course they’ll keep it close by taking a bunch of stupid penalties and bad turnovers. At the end of the day, they’re just a much better team.

Chiefs (-7) over RAVENS

I keep waiting for the classic Andy Reid meltdown at the end of the season. It tried really hard to happen last week, but then Danny Woodhead dropped the game-tying touchdown and the Chargers center forgot to snap the ball. But now the Chiefs are just two games behind the Broncos who still have to play the Steelers and Bengals, and the Ravens are starting Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. I think if the Chiefs can score seven points they’ll cover.

SEAHAWKS (-15) over Browns

This line scares me a little bit, but the Seahawks are red hot right now. Their young offensive line is starting to come into their own, and Russell Wilson is living up to his contract. No one wants to see this Seattle team right now, they’re getting hot at exactly the right time just like last year.

Packers (-3) over RAIDERS

I love the Raiders. They’re primed to contend in 2016. They have an exciting young core in Carr/Cooper/Mack, they’re moving to LA pretty soon, and their about to be very attractive to free agents. All that being said, they’re young, and they’re coming off a huge win over the Broncos, so they are due for a letdown. The Packers have a lot more riding on this game, and they do have Aaron Rodgers, I’ll take them to cover easily.

Broncos (+6.5) over STEELERS

I can’t wait to watch the explosive Steelers offense match up with the Broncos lockdown secondary and relentless pass rush. The Broncos are playing for a first round bye and need to keep winning to clinch their division. I will say, the fact that people are starting to doubt Osweiler is music to Patriot fan’s ears. 100/100 would rather Peyton Manning come to Foxborough for the AFC Championship than Brock Osweiler, and the former looks a lot more likely than the latter.

Dolphins (+1.5) over CHARGERS

The Chargers have kind of thrown in the towel on the season. Their offense hasn’t looked good in weeks, and Rivers is starting to wear down as older quarterbacks do towards the end of the season. The Dolphins offense looked a lot better with Zac Taylor calling plays last week. They’ve been able to establish a running game, and Tannehill made some nice throws.

Bengals (-6) over 49ERS

I’m not ready to freak out over the Andy Dalton injury like everyone else. The Bengals have the most complete roster in the league. Dalton is of course better than A.J. McCarron, but he wasn’t carrying the team. McCarron was thrown into the game he wasn’t expecting to play in and of course struggled, but he still made a few plays and he’ll have a gameplan built around him this week. Maybe I watch to much college football, but I don’t think losing Andy Dalton is a death sentence to the Bengals.

Cardinals (-3.5) over EAGLES

The Eagles are the worst team to bet on or against. They’re the type of team that can beat anyone or lose to anyone. While they’re playing their best football right now, the Cardinals are a much better team. They have a way better quarterback and a better defense. I respect what the Panthers have done, 13-0 is impressive even with as weak as the league’s been this year, but I think the Cardinals are the best team in the NFC.

Lions (+3) over SAINTS

The NFL really has screwed ESPN for whatever reason. There have been very few good Monday night games. At no point from the time they made the schedule to today has this looked like a good game. Do yourself a favor and spend time with your family or something.

NFL Record Last Week: 7-9-0

NFL Record Overall: 99-105-6

 

New England Patriots: Is It Possible To Blow It?

With three games left in the regular season the New England Patriots are in place to have a clear path to Super Bowl 50 at Levis Stadium in San Francisco. If the season ended now the Pats would have a bye in the 1st round of the play-offs and play every game leading up to the Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium, where they are almost invincible  (Philadelphia wasn’t aware of that).

Obviously (so why state it dummy) the games still need to be played, and there is always the unthinkable…the Patriots could lose all the advantages they have worked so hard to accomplish.  So, why is there a need for concern?

Is It Possible To Blow It?

Simple answer – yes!

More complex response – maybe. I know, that’s a cop-out, but hear me out. First of all, what would you consider “blowing it?”

  • Losing home-field advantage

Gillette Stadium (Photo: travelchannel.com
Gillette Stadium (Photo: travelchannel.com)

That would be pretty big.  The Patriots are more intimidating  when playing in Gillette Stadium. Sure, they lost to Philly a few weeks ago, but c’mon, you know that was the ultimate trap game. Everyone, probably including Bill Belichick (he’d never acknowledge it) felt that was a show-up and win game.  Hell, I went on the air for “Hump Day” with Murph and Robyn Lynne and, with my infinite knowledge of football, said I could play running back or receiver and they’d still beat the Eagles. We all know how that turned out.

So, one more loss and a season ending Denver sweep over the Steelers, Bengals and Chargers and home field advantage is history. It’ll be hard, but true Patriot fans will actually be rooting for (ugh) the Steelers this week-end.

Likelihood: Slim

  • Losing the bye-week

With all the injuries, having that 1st weekend off seems to be critical to allow a time for healing. This would happen only if the Patriots lost two of their last three. Cincinnati and Denver square off in week 14, so one of them is assured at least one more loss.

Likelihood: Slim

  • Missing the play-offs

Ho-Hum, another year, another AFC Division Title (Photo: fansided.com)
Ho-Hum, another year, another AFC Division Title (Photo: fansided.com)

Already checked off to-do list.

Likelihood: Impossible

  • Not getting to the Super Bowl

Payton Manning vs Tom Brady (Photo: Forbes.com)
Payton Manning vs Tom Brady (Photo: Forbes.com)

The only teams that are a real threat should be Denver (Could we see the last Manning – Brady showdown?) and a red-hot Pittsburgh. If the Pats have the home field advantage over both they should win if healthy. Edelman, Hightower & Gronkowski all playing at close to 100% makes this the team that started the season 12-0. That’s a big if this year, as it seems players are going down every week.

Likelihood: If games are at Gillette Stadium -Small.  If on the road -probably around 70%

  • Not winning the Super Bowl

Health and opponent play a key role in this answer. It’s a game of attrition and lots of good luck, so just getting there again is almost unheard of. It is always the team goal to end the season with a win and the Patriots have been the best team at accomplishing that.

Fans expect nothing less and consider the season a failure if New England doesn’t win another ring…and that’s too bad.  This team has fought adversity all season and has accomplished miracles with key players missing multiple games.

As this season got underway I predicted the Patriots would play Green Bay for all the chips and that still could happen. It’s looking more likely the Carolina Panthers will be the probable opponent, but it’s still a long way away.

Likelihood: Flip a coin

There’s no quarterback I’d rather have leading my team in a one game match-up than Tom Brady, but neither Aaron Rodgers nor that young guy from Carolina (Cam Newton if you don’t know) are slouches. With the defenses of New England and Carolina it could be a low scoring affair. With the offense of Green Bay and New England it could be last man to have the ball in a shootout.

Tom Brady Has Revenge On His Mind
Tom Brady Has Revenge On His Mind

No matter what, all you can do is hope for a good, competitive game with the best team coming out on top. My choice – Patriots get Brady his 5th ring and he accepts another Super Bowl MVP Trophy with a smirk from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell!

Follow me on Twitter @SnowdonBob

 

NFL Week Fifteen Power Rankings

Remember when we literally murdered the Texans on national TV back in 2012? They were the self-proclaimed “New Kings of the AFC” and even wore those cool varsity letterman jackets into Foxboro to prove it? That is the date of death that should be carved on the Texan’s tombstone. Houston never recovered from that and probably never will. You and I both saw the owner/founder being shown prior to kick-off last night down on the sidelines. If you think that guy isn’t being kept alive by machines or isn’t an actual marionette, you aren’t living in any semblance of reality. For the fiftieth time in a row, the Patriots threw the Texans into a locker, stole their lunch money, and grabbed their girlfriend’s asses in the process. It could have turned into a good ol’ smut film if Bill wanted it to, but I think he respects the guys who helped him win four Super Bowls on the other side of the field. Even with Goodell controlling the instant replay screw jobs, this game was never really in question. The number one seed is back in grasp and Dunkin Donuts is hemorrhaging money again today due to another Patriots win. They should replicate what Jordan’s furniture did after the Sox won the World Series, and make it a little more difficult to give away free product. #PrayForDunks

1) Carolina Panthers – Regardless of how much the media is throwing Cam Newton into our faces, he is the front runner for league MVP.

2) New England Patriots – The Kill Everybody Tour is back on.

3) Arizona Cardinals – Arizona made that game a lot closer than they had to. However, they are one of the most balanced teams in the league.

4) Denver Broncos – Queue the Peyton/Brock controversy discussions.

5) Green Bay Packers – Who would have thought the running game would be the reason the Packers won a game at home?

6) Cincinnati Bengals – The Ginger has a mangled thumb and AJ McCarron has a Top 5 Wife in the NFL.

7) Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson may have bounced back from being murdered at the Super Bowl. It only took him about nine months.

8) Kansas City Chiefs – See my comments on Pittsburgh. These guys are for real.

9) Pittsburgh Steelers – This is the team nobody wants to play come January, myself included.

10) New Jersey Jets – The Jets control their own destiny, and the Damon Waynes voice over guy has them playing great football.

11) Minnesota Vikings – Mike Zimmer outcoached himself on the road. Minnesota is slowly losing control of its season.

12) Oakland Raiders – Khalil Mack may end up killing someone on the field before the season is up. I think he may have decapitated a lineman in Denver already.

13) Buffalo Bills – Good job, good effort Buffalo, stick to making great wings and having an embarrassing fan base.

14) Indianapolis Colts– Chuck Pagano should start packing his office up now.

15) Houston Texans – JJ Watt had his worst game since his rookie season. Nothing pleases me more to see the biggest d-bag in the league struggle against a patchwork offensive line.

16) Philadelphia Eagles – If I was Chip Kelly, I’d put that punk McCoy on blast. Football is a business and he got a raw deal. Kelly apologized and called it a day.

17) New Jersey Giants – Eli Manning played like the game actually meant something to him. That could meant trouble for the rest of the NFC East.

18) Washington Redskins – I’d throw a million on the fact Desean Jackson ended up in some Asian massage parlor for a hamstring rub down after the Skins won.

19) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – You can’t lose games at home this late in the year, especially teams with a below .500 record.

20) Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan forcing the ball to Julio, no defense, and undisciplined football. This has been the same story for Atlanta since week seven.

21) Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins could be the most underachieving team in the league.

22) St. Louis Rams – Todd Gurley is a freak of nature, but looks very fragile. Even when I was watching him in the NFL Play 60 commercial he looked like he’d snap in half.

23) New Orleans Saints – The Saints are getting production out of a guy from Hofstra and another whom was bagging groceries in the offseason.

24) Jacksonville Jaguars – What really goes on in those pools in Jacksonville? Why don’t they show them more on TV? There is definitely some type of Floridian white-trash orgy happening.

25) Cleveland Browns – Johnny Football would be a prime candidate for the 6,12,18,24 contest.

26) San Francisco 49ers – Has there been a bigger fall from grace over the last twenty four months than the Niners?

27) Dallas Cowboys – Jerry Jones is praying the Browns cut Johnny Football. Also, what happened to the pictures of him with party girls and his pants down?

28) Chicago Bears – Leave it to the Bears to let Washington win their first road game in fifty years.

29) Detroit Lions – Twenty million dollar decoys is just another example of Detroit doing Detroit things.

30) Baltimore Ravens – Deception. I’ll continue to use that word until Baltimore wins another game.

31) Tennessee Titans – Mariota may not leave Foxboro alive next week. I’m not even joking.

32) San Diego Chargers– Think being an NFL quarterback is the best job on the planet? Look at the beating Phillip Rivers took yesterday. Oh, and he has to go home to twenty something kids and a nagging wife whom wants more.