Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Can the Pats repeat as AFC Champs?

...Probably not, but the chance is definitely there.  When Tom Brady went down in Week 1, I immediately wrote the Pats off as a team of no consequence, but last night MNF drubbing of Denver might have changed my mind.  I'm probably reading too much into a solid performance against the worst pass-defense in the league, but Matt Cassel showed that he's a capable NFL Quarterback.  It's such an important position (back up QB) that it is amazing some teams overlook it (ie the Packers with two rookies behind Rodgers, or the Cowboys with Brad Johnson...I have no idea why they thought HE could still play, didn't they learn their lesson with Drew Bledsoe?).  And to excuse a loss by saying "Well it was their backup QB" is a total cop-out.  That position is a vital part of the team,  don't put him on the roster if you aren't comfortable with him leading your team.  Funny how everyone seems shocked and suggests a QB controversy when the backup does well in place of the starter, even though that is his job!

     So now the Pats are 5-2 if I remember correctly, which makes them one of the better teams in the league.  And with the Colts and Chargers floundering this year, the Bills and Titans are left as the teams to beat in the AFC, so it's not all that hard to believe that Bellicheck could get the Pats to the Superbowl again.  I scoffed at the comparison of how Brady was simply filling in for the starter and got them to the big game in 2001, but if Cassel can have another good performance next week then I'll say it's possible.

Small Note:   This Denver collapse shouldn't be surprising, like the one we saw either last year or the year before, when they went 7-1 or something and then fell apart.  Am I crazy or should their defense be A LOT better than they are?  Seems like they have decent personnel and good coaching.  How a team with Champ Bailey and Dre Bly ranks last in pass protection is beyond me...

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