OK, even if, despite all the reasons I just mentioned, the Patriots win the AFC championship and march on to the Super Bowl, they still won't win.
Why? The NFC teams this year are too good.
First of all, there's the Eagles. After Michael Vick's super-human season last year, along with the additions of Nnamdi Asomugha, Vince Young, Jason Babin and Cullen Jenkins, the Eagles are going to be one mean team. After all, Asante Samuel led the NFL in interceptions last year, and now he's playing across from Asomugha, with Dominiquie Rodgers-Cromartie in the mix as well. Even Tom Brady will have a rough time passing against that.
Then there's the NFC South. The Saints, Buccaneers and Falcons could all be Super Bowl-caliber teams. The Saints have a shiny new offensive weapon in Mark Ingram, and the Falcons added wideout Julio Jones in the draft. The Buccaneers managed to snag both Adrian Clayborne and former consensus No. 1 defensive end Da'Quan Bowers in the draft.
Finally, there are the Packers—the defending Super Bowl champions. The team that won the Super Bowl with 15 players on IR. The team that almost beat the Patriots last year with a backup quarterback. They might be the first team since the Patriots to repeat the feat.
The Patriots will be good next year. In fact, they'll be great—they always are. But just don't get your expectations up too high Patriots fans. They aren't winning the Super Bowl.