History is most certainly against the Patriots in 2012, but the team is simply too talented to fall short of making the postseason next year.
There is some frightening validity to the infamous curse. As NFL.com points out, it has been 39 years since the runner-up in a Super Bowl has won it all the following season. Furthermore, 17 straight Super Bowl losers have failed to make the postseason the following year.
The reasons for this curse are hard to pinpoint. Playing extra games into February while the majority of NFL teams are resting certainly plays a factor. Add that to the odds each NFL team faces every offseason (coaching changes, roster turnover, etc.), and the explanation begins to appear.
Recent history is beginning to counteract the curse, which should give the Patriots some hope. The three Super Bowl losers before the Patriots in 2011 ( '09 Cardinals, '10 Colts and '11 Steelers) returned to the postseason the following year.
Add in the fact that the Patriots have won the AFC East nine of the past 11 seasons, and New England could very well be the exception to the curse this time around.
It helps that the Patriots organization is essentially ran by one of the greatest head coaches of all time in Bill Belichick.
Belichick not only drafted seven new players in the 2012 NFL Draft, he brought in a plethora of free agents who should help to effectively counteract the fatigue the roster was facing from having to play so deep into the NFL offseason.
Belichick has assembled what is quite possibly the most talented roster in the entire NFL. Quarterback Tom Brady is still running the show, and he happens to be playing some of the best football of his career.
Brady threw for more than 5,000 yards a year ago to go along with 39 touchdown passes and an outstanding 105.6 quarterback rating. He is one of the best in the business, and he has an elite crop of talent catching his passes, such as Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney, to name a few.
Defensively, the Patriots cannot be much worse than the No. 31 overall ranked unit the team put on the field last season. Drafting players such as defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, along with signing free agents such as defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, will likely provide a boost to the miserable unit.
The AFC East itself is not exactly stacked, either. The Miami Dolphins might be fielding a team with a rookie quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. The New York Jets have not done much to improve the roster this offseason outside of drafting Quinton Coples, and they also brought in Tim Tebow to potentially create a quarterback controversy.
The team that will likely provide the most competition for the Pats in the division next season resides in Buffalo. The Bills not only had an amazing draft but they also managed to land the most prized free agent by acquiring defensive end Mario Williams.
Despite adding so much talent, the Bills will still have a hard time matching up with all of the Patriots' offensive weapons. Buffalo finished with a 6-10 record last season, and a 2012 record of 9-7 appears to be the ceiling.
Conversely, there is not a ceiling for the Patriots in 2012. Outside of the aforementioned additions and playing in a weak division, New England (on paper) has one of the weakest schedules in the NFL next year, with only four opposing teams boasting a winning record in 2011.
For once, going against the odds is a safe bet. If there is one team to laugh in the face of the historical odds mounted against them, it should be the 2012 New England Patriots.
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