Before we go onto the next week of football games (with a Thursday night game we’ll be moving on tomorrow) I wanted to take a look at the Monday Night Football game and the New England Patriots.
For the second straight week, the Pats almost lost. Now I know that almost only counts with horseshoes and hand-grenades, but if you watched that game Monday night, you know that if just one of a handful of freak plays went in the Ravens’ favor then the Pats would have suffered their first loss of the season.
Two weeks in a row the Pats’ offense has looked more on the ordinary side. They have been slowed down by two good, aggressive defenses. And on the defensive side of the ball the Pats aren’t very good at all. I’ve been saying all year that their linebackers are too old to be effective for an entire season and I’m sticking by that. Of course now we’re also seeing that their secondary is very suspect.
The last two weeks the Pats have given-up a lot of points to two offenses who are not anywhere near being the best in the NFL. Perhaps most concerning to the Pats has to be the fact that the Eagles and the Ravens moved the ball in completely different ways. The Eagles threw the ball all over the field and the Ravens ran all over the Pats. I don’t care how great their offense is, the Pats defense is not a championship defense. And when we get into January in Foxboro in horrible weather, the Pats lack of a defense and lack of a running game will hurt them.
Of course this hasn’t stopped people from still calling the Pats the “best team ever”. But those words are beginning to sound a little silly. This year’s Pats team is not the best, if they are the team that’s shown-up the last two weeks. Any team in history who had a good defense and a solid offense, could beat this Pats team. That includes the Steelers of the 70s and the 80s. It also includes some other one year champions like the ’85 Bears. I don’t think the Pats are stopping Walter Payton even once and I don’t see that Bears defense surrendering more than 20 points.
Now, maybe these two weeks have been a mirage. Maybe the Pats are just in a little lull and they’re about to bust out of it. Or maybe they are who they are and teams are starting to figure them. And maybe they have a defense that is at best ordinary.
We’ll see this weekend when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxboro. The Steelers come in with the league’s #1 defense and a good offense. I think they’ll leave with a victory and the Patriots will leave with their fist loss.