As I flip through the sports channels I find myself already board with basketball. Baseball will be here in the spring, and then just about the time you think the summer heats killing you, well football will be ramping up again. Until then here’s a look at the AFC champion Patriots of New England.
In the AFC title game the Pats did just enough on offense to eke out a win, the defense looked as good as they have all year, couple that with a missed field goal from the Ravens, and back to the bowl Brady goes. To sum it up…Brady flat stunk, and the defense was stellar.
This offense is still second in the league with their passing attack, but as you couple the quarterback with wide outs, the explosiveness, quick strike ability and the on-the-line audibles, this is by far the most lethal offense the NFL has seen this year. QB Brady is one of the smartest and quickest to pick a defense apart. His outlets in the receiving pool include Wes Walker and TE Rob Gronkowski, both with over 1300+ yards each this year. This just leaves the unattended backfield which you can rest assured that with all the attention focused on this passing attack, RB Green-Ellis will be given some room to run when the time is right, probably just about the time New York isn’t expecting it.
This defense was bad at the first of the year, middle of the year, and barring the showing they gave against the Ravens; I’ll stick to my hunch…their still bad. They can stop a run here and there but seems to be that if you want to put the ball in the air and get in a shootout with Brady go for it. It’s almost like they invite it. The pass defense isn’t the worst in the league but its close enough to the bottom of the pile to still smell. I’m still shaking my head over their last performance. They looked great, swarming to the ball, making tackles, and keeping pressure on the Ravens the entire game. If this was something new I’m sure they’ll try it again. If it was just a fluke, well Brady better ready, or maybe it’s been here all year and just never given notice because every game was overshadowed by the offenses.
Special teams efforts will be the same duties as it has been all season…don’t make a turn over, and set up Brady. The Pats kickoff coverage is pretty efficient in regards to keeping the other team starting from the 20 or just outside of it, I guess when you practice and have an average of about six real game kicks on Sunday, your coverage will evolve to be pretty good.
Coach Belichick is to the rest of the coaches in the NFL as Brady is to the other quarterbacks. Bottom-line…this guy’s good! I don’t want to hear all the whining about “he cheated”, “he taped practices”…blah, blah, blah….He wins! And he’ll continue to win. You give him an extra week to prepare for a team he has already played and lost to this year, and the same team that took a Super Bowl away from him a few years back…this recipe spells disaster for the Giants.
The defense teams are gone, what’s left is two teams that in my view are pretty similar in the fact they both have efficient passing games, and neither one seems overly concerned about letting the other score. I don’t know if that’s what I would want to get into facing this Pats team. QB Manning is good and comes from a quality gene pool, but is this enough to get Brady to slow down? Brady stunk it up against the Ravens. I know it, you know it, and so does he. Brady has stunk it up only one other time this year and that was over a two-week streak and one of the games was against, you guessed it, the Giants. Following that short stumbling, Brady, Belichick and the rest of the Pats have run off 10 wins and during that stretch only scored less than 30+ twice.
All the sport books in Vegas opened the line at either New England -4 or -3 ½. This didn’t last long; most books went to NE -3 within a day, some books are now at NE -2 ½ with this week to go before kickoff. All the talking heads are ranting about how bad the AFC is and how the Giants should be favored. Smart money, dead money, sharp money and square money is all flowing in on the Giants, the Pats are getting some action but the margin is defiantly heavy on the Giants. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the line slip again before the weekend.
Here’s the deal, the Giants beat this team once already this year, the Giants beat this team in Super Bowl XLII, both of these wins were by a dismal three points each. Neither team seems to be able to stable a defense, so the game may turn into a highlight reel. I don’t want to be against Brady and his squad when 1) Revenge is on the agenda for Brady and Belichick 2) You may end up in a shootout against Brady and last but not least 3) Everyone is betting the Giants. What does that mean you ask? ANSWER: The masses are asses. I’ll take the New England Patriots and be cashing my ticket as they are announced the XLVI Super Bowl Champs.