Things couldn't have been better for the New England Patriots last week. The offense was clicking, the defense was flying around and Kevin Kolb and the lackluster Arizona Cardinals were up next on the schedule.
Could things have changed any more drastically in the course of a week?
One of the best and most versatile tight ends in the game is now hobbled and out, the kicker is a headcase, the star receiver's missing in action, the play-calling has come under fire and that gimme on the schedule turned into a gut-wrenching last-second loss.
Oi. How can it get any worse? Well, playing the Baltimore Ravens on the heels of all of this certainly doesn't make it any better.
Despite the sky-is-falling situations listed above (as well as the ones not mentioned, and there are some), the fact remains that it is still September and this is a very good Patriots team with plenty to look forward to.
That being said, the Ravens are going to be a test. They were going to be a challenge even with a healthy Aaron Hernandez, happy Wes Welker and mentally stable Stephen Gostkowski, so getting a win Sunday night just became all the more difficult.
Still, the Patriots can, and very well might, win this rematch of last year's AFC championship game. Here are the keys that can bring the Patriots back over the .500 mark.