Yes, America’s long, recurring nightmare has begun again. The Patriots are on the march towards another Super Bowl. Is there another team in the NFL that, each season, does not merely expect to advance to the 19th game of the season, but to win it? Many wish they would not be playing golf in January 2020… But many will.
TB12’s continued performance is confounding critics, and, well, everyone. He hasn’t given the Patriots the flexibility to put Jimmy G on the field in his place, so one good QB candidate is gone. And I think Jacoby Brissett is all that also, just needs some more time with coaching not as competent as the Patriots would have given him. Sad for the Colts, they have to wait for him to grow. Sad for the Patriots, they drafted two good replacements for TB12, and had to let both go. Well, Jarrett_Stidham has promise, he’s just not ready this year. Patience.
But some random hits:
The Patriots defense is opportunistic. They wait for you to make the mistake. An example, those 4th quarter interceptions. Yup, caught you! And that they will let you march down the field, just to stiffen up coming to the red zone.
The Patriots also play the field position game well. Force them into a three-and-out, they will happily send you off the field gaining 10-20 yards in the process.
The kicking game has also been a strength, the Patriots being one of the few teams that can get a field goal off with seven seconds left in the half, clock running. Last season. I forget which game. Or was it not quite like that? Anyways, we’ve lost Gostkowski this season, and that’s big. He was points every game.
Brady is still playing more than well enough for regular season, but there are rumors of a nagging calf injury. He was accused of not having the arm he used to, but I see him slinging the ball downfield just fine. His footwork in the pocket is magical. Watch for it. Even when he’s not threatened, and has extra time, he’s aware of his surroundings, dancing, ready to bolt or get rid of the ball, but eyes downfield finding the opportunity.
Unlike so many QBs, Brady knows to get rid of the ball and avoid the losses, certain that he’ll get another chance. Oh, is that why so many other QBs hang on too long, they know their team can’t get them enough chances?
I’m incredibly hopeful this season, a bad omen, but they have what they need. Getting to the playoffs is almost certain for me barring injuries, and getting through to the Big Game more likely than not. Once again, the rest of the AFC is trying to figure out how to get past the Patriots.
Now, living in the Phoenix area, I follow the Arizona Cardinals. Second first-round QB pick in two years, second new head coach in two years, I dunno. This is a do or die season for management, coaches, and many players. We’ll see if there is enough improvement to save those jobs. And this week the passing of William Bidwell, the owner, by all accounts a wonderful man, and a loss to the community. May he rest in peace, sitting with his maker.