They did it again.
The New England Patriots have managed to overcome their flaws and landed themselves at the top of the AFC. They have suffered from one of the worst secondaries in the NFL all year long and still managed to finish 13-3.
The Patriots are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl from the AFC, but they certainly will face their fair share of challenges along the way. No matter how good that offense is, they will be challenged by great defenses like Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
Assuming the Patriots manage to overcome the odds and make it to the Super Bowl, they may just face the NFC favorite Green Bay Packers.
The Packers steamrolled their way to a 15-1 record led by MVP contender Aaron Rodgers. This matchup would make for an explosive offensive game that would surely be back and forth the entire time.
However, if it came down to it, the Patriots are built to pull off the upset.
Here are 10 reasons why the Patriots would beat the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.
Lets get this one out of the way early.
Tom Brady is the biggest factor in the Patriots' success as a team. He is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and one of the greatest to ever play the game.
No other active starting quarterback has as many appearances in the Super Bowl as him.
He knows what it takes to win the big game as well as what it takes to be the MVP of the big game.
Simply put, if the Patriots are going to upset the Packers, it'll most likely be due to some terrific play from Tom Brady.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is the mastermind that has turned New England into one of the premier franchises in the league.
He is a defensive genius that has managed to take players off of the scrap heap and put together a defense that was good enough to win the AFC.
He is known for telling his players to simply do their job and not worry about anything else. As simple as that message is, he will not hesitate to change a player out if they are not getting it done.
His ruthless coaching style isn't fun for Patriots' players, but they know that it leads to wins.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is a great coach. There is no doubt that he is already one of the best in the game, but he can't touch Belichick's resume.
If this matchup is set, Belichick will be coming with a game plan and a formula to beat the Packers. His players will be prepared to the best of their ability.
As important as Tom Brady is to the Patriots on the field, Belichick is just as important off the field.
The Green Bay Packers were able to demolish the majority of their opponents this year.
Many times it came down to the opposing offense not being able to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and company on the scoreboard.
The Packers led the league in scoring this year with 560 points, which averages out to 35 points per game.
If anyone can score with the Packers, it'll be the New England Patriots.
The Patriots finished third in the league in scoring with 513 points, which averages out to 32.1 points per game. This is with the Patriots arguably facing the tougher defenses over the course of their defense.
The Packers and Patriots both share the ability to spread the field and make plays through multiple receivers. Each team comes equipped with plenty of weapons that can strike at all different points of the field.
Green Bay will score on the Patriots, but they won't run away with the game.
Rob Gronkowski just finished what may have been the greatest receiving year for any tight end in the history of the NFL.
"Gronk" adds the single-season receiving touchdown record and the single-season yardage mark for tight ends to his resume.
He has become one of Tom Brady's favorite targets anywhere on the field and is one of the most dangerous weapons in the league.
He is built like an offensive lineman but has the soft hands of a wide receiver. He is too fast for linebackers but too big for defensive backs.
It is at the point now where you have to commit two defenders to covering him, but even then Brady still finds a way to get the ball in his hands.
Once Gronkowski has the ball, things don't get any easier.
He is one of the toughest offensive players in the league to tackle. We have seen him shake defenders off him as if he barely even feels them.
You can bet that Gronkowski will be a huge factor in the Patriots' postseason run. In a potential Super Bowl matchup with the Packers, he would be a crucial part of the game plan.
The formula for stopping the Patriots has been playing their receivers physically on the line of scrimmage and controlling the ball on offense.
We know that Green Bay doesn't have the talent in the secondary to shut down the pass game.
We also know that the Packers don't have a rushing attack that will allow them to chew up clock.
The Packers' rushing attack finished the regular season ranked 27th in the league.
Ryan Grant and James Starks have been decent behind Aaron Rodgers, but they won't be good enough to control the pace of the game. They are more complementary players than anything.
The lack of a rushing threat will turn this game into exactly what the Patriots want. It'll be a passing shootout, and New England has a pretty good record in those kinds of games.
Wes Welker is another weapon the Patriots have that is so difficult to match up with.
He runs crisp, short routes and has great hands.
Brady will not hesitate to fire a rocket from short distance because he knows that Welker has the ability to reel it in.
It is amazing how much the Patriots use Welker, and yet so few defenses manage to actually shut him down for an entire game.
Everyone on the field knows that Brady is going to look to Welker, but defenders just can't keep up with him.
Welker set career highs in receiving yards and touchdowns this year along with just missing on topping his career total in catches.
It is hard to think of another receiver in the league who poses a similar skill set, and that is why it'll be so difficult for the Packers to shut him down in a Super Bowl matchup.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the keys to beating the Patriots has always been keeping their offense off of the field.
I believe that the same theory can be applied to the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers and Patriots are incredibly similar in most aspects of their team.
However, the Patriots have a rushing attack that is on the rise. They have topped 100 yards in their last three games, and their leading rusher in each of those games has been rookie Stevan Ridley.
Ridley has given the rushing attack an explosive burst that has been missing with starter BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
The combination of Ridley as a featured back with Green-Ellis handling short-yardage situations and Danny Woodhead passing situations makes for a dangerous running attack.
Each back will be put in the situation where they are most likely to succeed.
If the Patriots can establish the run against Green Bay, they could attack them the same way they've been attacked time and time again.
Aaron Hernandez sits in the shadow of his teammate Rob Gronkowski at the tight end position, but that doesn't mean that he should be forgotten about.
Hernandez put together a huge year, with 79 receptions for 910 yards and seven touchdowns.
He was one of the league's top tight ends even with Gronkowski breaking records.
His build is that of your typical tight end, but his skill set is that of a wide receiver. Hernandez brings a solid frame but matches it with sneaky speed.
He is one of the few players that the Patriots use to stretch the field and has been known to make some huge plays after the catch.
Hernandez is incredibly shifty for a guy his size, and he continues to surprise defenses.
While he certainly benefits from the majority of the attention being on Gronkowski and Welker, he makes the most of his opportunities.
He led the team in receiving in two of the last three games of the season as teams continued to compensate for Gronkowski and Welker more.
You can bet that he would give the Packers coaching staff plenty of headaches when planning a defensive scheme.
The Patriots have been knocked all year long for their inability to stop anyone in the passing game.
They have been one of the worst secondaries in the league.
However, no one seems to mention that the Packers have just as bad of a secondary.
Green Bay actually finished the league ranked dead last in passing defense with New England in a close second.
I've heard the argument several times that the secondary will be the reason why the Patriots will be knocked out of the playoffs this year. Then week after week I have seen them overcome poor pass coverage to win games. The Packers have done the same thing all year long.
There is no reason to think that both of these teams couldn't do it during the postseason and face off in the Super Bowl.
If they do then both offenses will have a field day throwing the ball. We will get to see Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers go head to head, and whoever comes out on top will likely go home with a Super Bowl ring.
Of course I remember that the Green Bay Packers are coming off their first Super Bowl victory just last year.
I know that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have what it takes to win the big one, but no other team has been in the Super Bowl as often as Tom Brady and the Patriots over the course of the past decade.
When your starting quarterback and head coach have the experience of being in four Super Bowls and winning three of them, it is a huge advantage.
Many of the faces have changed from those past championship teams, but Bill Belichick will know how to prepare this team.
Veteran leadership from players like Deion Branch and Vince Wilfork will go a long way in keeping the young talent on the team focused. Much of the Patriots offensive line has seen time in a Super Bowl as well. All of this factors in to New England's success.
Not to mention you'll have a player like Wes Welker, who missed out on his shot at a ring in 2007 and will be hungry to get his first.
Regardless of how good the Packers are, they won't be able to match the Patriots' experience.