It’s Time To Calm The Expectations, Patriots Fans
By: Justin Bastinelli
With their 30-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys, the Patriots improved to 4-0. Yes…4-0, not 16 or dare I say 19-0. I think it’s time to calm the expectations, Patriots fans.
The Patriots have beat a Pittsburgh team minus their top play maker and best offensive lineman, the Jaguars stink and Buffalo just squeaked by the Titans. Last night the Pats held the Cowboys to just 6 points, which isn’t too impressive when you think they were facing Brandon Weeden and Terrance Williams instead of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.
It seems people already have the Patriots ’07 like at 18-0 heading into the Super Bowl. It is astounding how many people are already talking “undefeated”.
Do you realize there are 4 other teams in the league that have better records and one with the same? The Packers, Falcons, Bengals and Broncos are all 5-0, a half game better than the “indestructible Patriots”. The Panthers are also undefeated at 4-0 with a bye this week.
I am not saying this isn’t one of the best teams in the league and shouldn’t be favorites at this point of the season to once again represent the AFC for a chance in the Super Bowl. They are clearly one of the best teams in a weak conference. The Broncos seem vulnerable, though they do have one of the best defenses in the league. They also still have Peyton Manning, who say what you want is still Peyton Manning. Then there is the Bengals who had an impressive come from behind against the Seahawks to improve to 5-0. However, until The Bengals and Marvin Lewis can prove that they are for real, I can’t believe in them making it to the final game.
I still believe the Packers are right up there with the Patriots who have another devastating offense and underrated defense. The Patriots don’t play Green Bay this year, however if they do meet in the Super Bowl, I will be quite scared as a Patriots fan 18-0 or not. The Packers will still be the Patriots most difficult foe all season.
This is a quarterback driven league and the Patriots have so far faced off against a Ben Roethlisberger who was without his best offensive lineman, top playmaker in Le’veon Bell, and number 2 receiver in Martavis Bryant. From there, New England has gone up against Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles, and Brandon Weeden.
Sorry, but I don’t think Belichick was up sweating all night trying to figure out kinks in their armor. They are all quite visible.
This weekend, Indianapolis is next on the schedule and though the game has been circled on the calendar since the end of January because of the deflate-gate accusations, they too have been struggling mightily with the possibility that it’s Matt Hasselbeck under center instead of Andrew Luck who missed his second straight game yesterday.
So as the Patriots continue to beat up on inferior teams, enjoy the games on Sunday but please calm the expectations. They are a good team. In fact I would say they are an elite team. But they still have plenty of questions. Their top cornerback has barely been tested with a mediocre crop of opponents at best. When up against Antonio Brown, he allowed 9 catches for 133 yards and a touchdown, yet if you look through Patriots colored glasses saw Malcom Butler allow you to forget about Darrell Revis and Brandon Browner.
Look, no one wants them to win another Super Bowl more than I do, especially after the past 6 months of possibly one of the dumbest “scandals” in sports history. But we need to calm expectations. If we learned anything from 2007, it’s that no one cares what the regular season record is as long as your team is holding Lombardi’s trophy in early February. Because even going into a game at 18-0 eight years ago, it went down as one of the most disappointing seasons and heart wrenching losses of all time.
This Sunday night I will be watching the Patriots beat up on another average team, and I might even be enjoying a little bit more than usual. But it will only propel them to 5-0, one game up on the New York Jets who they will be playing the following week for the division lead. And though I may think this team has a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl, it is still 3 months away, needing to stay healthy, and even when they get there will have to face a team just as good if not better. So enjoy the ride, enjoy the games, but please relax expectations. They just may not be as good as we all think they are. Not yet anyway.