On December 28, 2008, the New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills by a final count of 13-0 in a wildly windy game. If someone was asked which team looked stronger, every single viewer would answer the Patriots were dominate and played with a cause on their back.
On December 21, 2008 the New England Patriots beat the Arizona Cardinals 44-7 in another wild game. If someone was asked, they would say the Patriots DOMINATED the other playoff team.
The Patriots finished the regular season on fire, winning all their battles after a sad Steelers loss.
They had won four straight against quite a few tough teams. They had lost their MVP quarterback in the first quarter of the first game who was then replaced by a player who hadn't started a football game since high school.
They lost their secondary to injuries, they brought two linebackers back from old age because of injury and were doubted at every turn.
Maybe they were right to be doubted because when they finished their season at 11-5 with a .688 winning percentage they didn't make the playoffs, so who cares about them?
The Patriots record was equal to or better than seven of the 12 playoff teams. That truly makes you think if this system works or not.
I may not be right with this point, but it's odd to think that the Patriots won most of the battles, but lost the war because of games they can't control.