I listened to Bill Simmons podcast with Mike Lombardi last night, which is usually a good gauge of square logic and man, they were both hammering the Patriots. The consensus seemed to be:
-Bill Belichick is nuts
-Tom Brady needs to be able to run
-Tom Brady hasn’t recovered from ACL surgery
-The Patriots have no runningbacks
-NFL teams are figuring out the Patriots spread offense
-Randy Moss isn’t trying
-We’re pulling stuff out of thin air
I guess you could make small cases for all that stuff, but, wow, I’m not sure what the complaints on the Patriots are. You can say all you want about the offense but they are still number 2 in the league in total offense.
They are still out-gaining their opponents at a pace near the top of the league. They still have the best coach in football.
So why the hate on a team that is just 2 years separated from the best season in NFL history?
I’d say luck, for one. Belichick is pretty much single handily on a mission to prove the punter and kicker are irrelevant in football. I believe he has made the right calls, but they haven’t worked out for them. Switch a few plays around in the Colts and Dolphins games and this is a 10-3 team.
The other factor of course is that their two biggest games, which happened to be embarrassing losses both came on national television in prime time games. The fact that everyone saw those games is definitely weighing in on the public’s opinion of this team.
I think people are also punishing this Patriots team because they aren’t the 2007 Patriots. That seems a little unfair considering there are plenty of other teams that aren’t the best NFL team of the salary cap area. I’ll give you a hint, the Colts and Saints and Vikings aren’t close to the 2007 Patriots, either.
I’m not saying the Patriots are the best team in the league, I’m not saying they are a good bet to win the Super Bowl(They will probably have to play three games in the playoffs, two on the road), but I am saying they deserve to be right up there, if not ahead of some of the “top tier teams.”
As Always, take them for what it’s worth. Just look at the Giants-Eagle game where the Giants out-gained the Eagles by over 100 yards if you think this is a be all end all. If you break it down by yards per play, the teams were pretty much even, with the Eagles picking up a few more game-changing breaks.
Haven’t really looked past Jacksonville against Indy yet, but there could be some decent options. Not sure what the Rams are doing at QB, but it could be fun to get back on their bandwagon. I hate backing a high profile team like Dallas, but I think the last two weeks have made that acceptable against New Orleans. Let’s hope Carolina can get Percy Harvin to slack off as much as Randy Moss, because that is my other favorite game of the week. Just looking at W-line, the Redskins, Lions and Bills are one sided but I doubt I end up on any of those.