As a New England Patriots fan, it pains me to write this following article.
Don't get me wrong. I want the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. That's a pipe dream. There is no way that the Patriots will win the big game this year.
Patriots fans can tell themselves that this is a "bend-don't-break" defense. They will tell themselves that the top-ranked offense will bail this lowly defense out once again. That's what Patriots fans tell themselves in order to cover up this defense. The Patriots cannot win the Super Bowl.
Not with the current defense. Only time will tell if I'm right or wrong but here is why I believe the Patriots defense will prevent a Super Bowl win.
Everyone knows the saying, "Offense wins games but defense wins championships."
So far that has held true in New England this year. The offense has done its part of that bargain winning 12 games and a top seed in the AFC. Tom Brady and company is averaging 30.9 points per game, good for third in the league.
Now all the defense has to do is win the Super Bowl. It's true that a bad defensive team can win it all. But a horrible defensive team cannot.
The NFL is becoming more pass happy. Contenders like Pittsburgh and Green Bay tend to air it out. Against the worst pass defense in the league even players like T.J. Yates and Joe Flacco can put up points.
Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will be good enough to wreck a bad secondary. New England has allowed an average of 411.7 total yards per game. While that is an NFL worst, I want to point to the secondary.
The Patriots have allowed 293.8 yards per game. That is an NFL worst and if they give up 165 yards on Sunday they will be the worst pass defense in NFL history. That's not a Super Bowl worthy resume.
It's also interesting to note that the Patriots have never beaten an elite quarterback this year. They did beat Tony Romo, Tim Tebow and a reeling Phillip Rivers but none of these QBs are elite or playoff caliber.
All it takes to beat New England is a solid quarterback.
The Patriots live and die by Tom Brady. In wins this year Brady averaged 330.8 yards with 2.3 touchdowns and 0.4 interceptions per game.
In losses Brady averaged 309 yards with 2.6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions per game. So it's safe to say that when Brady plays well, the Patriots play well. When Brady plays not so well, the Patriots lose.
And Brady is destined to not play perfect in all the playoff games. He will throw a pick. He won't always be golden.
While I don't think that this new shoulder injury will sideline Brady, it will lower his production and increase his risk of mistakes.
One slip up by Brady and the Patriots are out because this defense can't pick up any slack.
Pittsburgh already beat the Patriots once and Baltimore somehow always shows up for big games. Both teams will be a tough out.
They both have good defenses that will limit the production of Tom Brady, Wes Welker and the offense.
It will then fall on the New England defense to stop these AFC North offenses and keep the Pats in the game.
In the Patriots' 25-17 loss to Pittsburgh, Patrick Chung led the team in tackles. When he returns from an injury, the defense will slowly improve but it will not be enough. In that loss Brady played a good game but the defense gave up 17 points in the first half.
In that game the whole Patriots team was outplayed and history could repeat itself.
Right now the Packers are the best team in football and are the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. To become world champions again, the Patriots might have to beat the Packers.
Aaron Rodgers, the best quarterback in the NFL, versus the Patriots, the worst secondary in the NFL, will be a nightmare for everyone in New England. Rodgers will cut up the defensive backs like a surgeon.
In order to win the Super Bowl, the Patriots defense must be decent and there is no way that this motley crew can turn their remaining season around and start playing playoff-caliber defense. It saddens me to say this but New England will never hoist the Lombardi Trophy with this current defense.