I am still waiting for the collapse. When Brady went down, everyone assumed the Patriots' 2008 season was a lost cause. Then they lost Maroney, and the pessimism got even worse. Harrison certainly didn't help matters, either.
With all that talent gone, the Pats were talked about as though they were winless and headed to a first-round draft pick.
I'll even admit that I was worried for a while. I figured they were headed for disaster. I mean, how do you replace a man as beautiful and talented as Tom Brady?
Brad Pitt could maybe handle the job, but he doesn't play football. He'd just end up running around screaming, "Cut! Cut!" trying not to get killed. You can't have that on a winning football team.
I'm starting to feel more confident, though.
I had forgotten that the Patriots used to win games by tight margins all the time and no one thought anything of it. The 2007 season definitely spoiled us.
For example, in 2004, the last year the Patriots won the Super Bowl, the Pats' average margin of victory was 13 points. By comparison, the 2008 average margin of victory is exactly the same—13 points.
Now, I'll admit that it's much easier to pad that stat with one good game, but I don't care. I like symmetry, such as the average points scored total from 2004, which was 23. That is only one point more than the current average.
I decided to see how this season’s team is stacking up against other good years. Let's take a look together:
- In the 2004 season, the average margin of victory was 10 points, which is three less than the current 2008 team. In 2001, it was only one better than this year with 14 points.
- The average points scored in 2004 was also 22, the same as the current 2008 team, and in 2001 it was 23, only one more than this year.
- The average points allowed in 2004 was 16 points, two points less than in 2008. In 2001 it was 17 points, only one point less.
Now, I can hear all the haters and their doubts. I will now address them directly:
"They have the easiest schedule in history! They're playing a high school team in Week 10!"
Whatever. They don't need to play every game against the 2007 Patriots to prove that they can win when needed.
"They've barely been winning against terrible teams."
Again, it's not who you're playing that's important, it's winning when it matters and responding well to adversity.
"They lost to the Dolphins!"
Okay, that sucked, and I really don't have a defense for that one. Oh well.
Anyway, I think the Patriots will do a lot better than people expect. Belichick is used to coaching under pressure, and this team has always found a way to win (except, of course, for the last Super Bowl, but we'll ignore that for now).
I am going to step out on a limb and say that the Pats will make the playoffs in 2008.
Bring it on, Favre!
EDIT: I am trying something new this week... I will be taking the most entertaining comment on this article, and using it for the basis of my Thursday article. I hope to do this each week. So be creative!