I’m kind of torn between the humble pie and the crow.
I’ve been reminded by several people over the last two weeks that the crumbling of the New England Patriots’ dynasty has been greatly exaggerated. I wrote back in early November that you could stick a fork in their Super Bowl invitation. Later that same month, I took a chance at having some additional humble pie shoved down my throat, by writing again that you wouldn’t have to worry about seeing the Patriots in Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII.
New England finished with an easy schedule. They lived in the patsy-infested AFC east. It was all over for the Pats, according to yours truly.
Sorry, on both occasions I was just kidding!
All joking aside, I was as serious as a heart attack. So why don’t I feel this urgent need to repent? You see, the Pats lost two in a row early in the year to the pitiful Jaguars and Lions. Late in season they dropped two consecutive again and were beaten by the Dolphins and the Steelers.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski was running about as fast as a giraffe on Quaaludes. Quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t as accurate as he had been in the past and was below average in the red zone. The defense didn’t have a great pass rush until the last two weeks of the season. The Patriots were a slightly above average team.
The New England Patriots were a done deal is what I believed with all my heart. So go ahead, you can admit too, I wasn’t the Lone Ranger. However, now that I’ve served up my pathetic excuse, I need to attempt to swallow the foul-tasting crow.
I apologize to the New England Patriots. You’re truly a force to contend with in the playoffs and I should not have lost heart in your team. I’m truly sorry.
But I’m climbing back on the B&B railroad car. To Brady and Bill Belichick, I’m not sure you’ll ever forgive me completely, but I’m on board now for the most important game of the season.
Denny The Dog’s selection is the New England Patriots to win their sixth Super Bowl in nine attempts in the Brady-Belichick era. Final Score: Patriots 31, Rams 24.
It’s time for all of you Patriots’ non-believers who are suffering from Patriots’ fatigue syndrome to suck it up and accept the facts. Belichick and Brady are simply smarter than the coaches and QBs they run up against.
I had to finally confess it. You can do it too. It only hurts for about 24 hours.
Look at it from whatever angle you want. But the bottom line is the Patriots are more cunning, clever or cagey, choose whichever adjective you prefer. The other coaches and QBs come up a dollar short when it comes to game planning and situational football. They don’t have a standard game plan or any one way they’ll attack an opponent.
The Pats will morph into whatever is needed to win. Late in the season they became a smash-mouth rushing attack. They’ve rushed for 130 yards or more over their last four games.
When the heat is on and windows get tight, no one is throwing better than Brady. He completed 50 percent of his narrow window tosses on Championship Sunday. All other QBs on that day were 27 percent on those tight windows. TB12 managed 8.7 yards per attempted pass while the also-ran QBs finished well behind at 5.6 yards per attempt.
Long after Ponce de Leon was rumored to be searching for the Fountain of Youth, Brady found it, somewhere around the New England area. If you look at 14 playoff games in Brady’s 20’s and compare the same stats with five games in his 40’s, the results are mind-boggling. Whether you look at points per game (34 in his 40’s to 25 in his 20’s), completion percentage (66 to 60), yards per game (364 to 229), TD-INT (20-9) or passer rating (101 to 86), Tom Brady’s stats are more appealing on the latter side of 40.
I know for a fact I’ve got the best QB and best coach on my side when I slip that Patriots’ betting slip into my wallet. Brady and Belichick have guided the Pats to their third straight Super Bowl. The B&B boys have competed for the Lombardi Trophy on average, every other year for the last 18 seasons! No one schemes better than Belichick on defense and Josh McDaniels might be the best play-caller in the NFL.
The experience the Pats have gained with preparing for nine Super Bowls is possibly the most valuable advantage in this game. Brady and Belichick know the ins and outs of this two-week preparation period better than anyone. That experience will pay off this Sunday.
The final advantage I believe the Patriots have is the stellar play of their offensive line. Brady isn’t feeling the heat. The O-line has shielded Brady better than a heat shield on a NASA spacecraft. He hasn’t been sacked in 90 postseason drop-backs.
I’m certainly a little steamed up after having to eat my fill of crow. Now, I’m going to push the humble pie away from the table and do a little crowing of my own. I’m going to give you one final reason why you might want to pay attention to my Super Bowl pick.
I have picked 14 of the last 17 Super Bowls correctly against the point spread. Moreover, I’ve been incredible (if I must say so myself), as it pertains to picking the Super Bowl when the Patriots are involved in the big game over the last 20 years.
I’m 7-1 in those last eight New England Super Bowls (mostly picking the underdogs over the Patriots). I’ve only missed one game. And, that was the game where the Falcons, who were a 3-point ‘dog, blew a 20-plus- point lead in the second half and failed to win the game or cover the spread. Yes, it still hurts, even today.
It’s true I’ve had some good fortune taking the ‘dogs along this Super Bowl winning streak. You might ask then, how could I pick against the underdog?
Well, if you believe Brady you would understand. He has managed to convince his teammates that they’re all too old and they have no skill players. TB12 tells everyone he knows that the entire country believes the Patriots suck.
According to Brady, the Patriots are the underdog. And he’s managed to convince me of the same. O.K. Tom, I’m a believer. You’ve won me over and I’ll take your dawg! PATRIOTS