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After getting through a difficult AFC slate, the New England Patriots are in New Orleans.
Different city, but the same stage for Belichick and his boys. This time the stakes will be higher than ever before.
The Pats have lost two previous trips to the Super Bowl, and another loss would be a huge dark mark on the legacy of Tom Brady.
Thankfully, they won’t be playing the pesky New York Giants this time around. It is unusual to say that a Super Bowl is a must-win game for a team, but that is how good the Patriots have been.
The Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks are too young to capture the big game this year. Yes, I’m aware Russell Wilson and his dynamic offense beat New England by one point in the regular season. But that is the regular season, and the rookie quarterbacks will have a tough time making it past a competitive NFC to New Orleans.
Minnesota has been a huge surprise this year, but even if it gets past Green Bay, Adrian Peterson will have a tall task ahead of him.
That leaves the three favorites in the NFC.
Green Bay has a suspect run game, and its offense is very one-deminsonal. The San Francisco 49ers bested New England 41-34, but Belichick will not get fooled twice.
The Atlanta Falcons are limping into the playoffs and will be in a dogfight to even win their own conference. With a somewhat-shaky run game and defense, they can not hang with the Patriots.
Will New England win the Super Bowl? Maybe.
But there is little doubt that the Patriots can make the big game and potentially even capture a little Disney magic.