Can these Patriots Win the SB Without Gronk?

Can this year's Pats team win the SB without Gronk?

  • Yes, still have enough weapons on offense to do it

    Votes: 151 62.7%
  • No, you saw their red zone production without Gronk, right?; he's just too important to this offense

    Votes: 90 37.3%

  • Total voters
    241

Super Nomario

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Toe Nash said:
I don't think playing for nothing is fair. The game was obviously way closer than expected and the Pats didn't look good in many areas. But the Browns are better with Campbell than Weeden for sure, Gordon has emerged as a real weapon and they have some players on defense. Plus the JAGUARS have won three in a row now so teams can and do change within a season.
 
Plus it's rare that teams lay an egg against New England -- it seems very often like coaches manage to get their teams up for those games and they play a lot better than expected (certainly happens within the division). It's almost like teams want to prove something against the consensus best franchise in the league for the past decade. Or that the media has built up a myth about how great NE is and how they're cheaters, pretty boys, arrogant, etc. and they buy into it. We've seen plenty of quotes from players to that effect.
 
I mean, if you're the coach and you're out of the playoffs with 6 games left, don't you circle the best opponent on your calendar and pull out your best work to make a statement for that game? Ditto all the players fighting for jobs next year. If you start 2-9 but finish 4-1 you're getting a lot more rope next year. There's always something to play for.
This is all fair - I should have said "playing for pride." But Cleveland, losers of 7 of their last 8, clearly isn't playing for as much as Miami and Baltimore, who are competing for the 6th seed.
 

Bellhorn

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Perhaps a better way to word the poll question would be "can the Patriots win the SB without being at least a 6-point underdog at some point in the playoffs?" The answer is still yes, of course - the real flaw is treating this as a binary question, as others have pointed out. But it might do a better job of cutting through the semantic quibbling and getting at what the OP seems to want us to consider, which unless I have badly misunderstood, is the degree to which the team has now fallen below the top tier of playoff contenders.
 

DJnVa

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norm from cheers said:
LIstening to Bill on Salk and Holley and it's quite possibly the worst interview I have ever heard.  Coach sounds tired. 
 
I have to imagine he is. They've been waiting for all the offensive guys to get healthy and as they were approaching that, they lose Gronkowski and now they need to pivot back to a Gronk-less offense. Earlier in the year they always knew he was coming back.
 
Going forward they need Ridley to hold the ball, and maybe they find even more ways to exploit Vereen's mismatch issues. I'm glad Boyce seems to be emerging a bit.
 

Reverend

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He probably also feels like he has a shit ton more work to do, because he does.
 
When Farrell came to the Science of Baseball Seminar, one thing I took away from it was that while he gave a great talk and Q&A, you could tell he wanted to be back at the park working. Belichick has to scrap a whole bunch of game planning and rework it now--it would be surprising if his mind wasn't in another place during that interview.
 

Dehere

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Best I can tell, futures wagering on NE to win it all now has the Pats at 10-1. That feels about right to me. Somebody upthread game them only a 5% shot and first thing I thought was that if I could get 19-1 on the Pats right now I'd unload. 10-1 gives you pause either way, which it should.

One thing not mentioned is that if the Patriots reach the Super Bowl it's going to be a de facto home game unless they somehow end up playing Philly. It's a huge advantage if one team is a same day drive to the game site and their fans can splurge on tickets without having to get a hotel. I think it would look like the PIT-SEA Super Bowl in Detroit, which was 90% Pittsburgh fans. The crowd and the weather should both favor NE if they're able to get to the SB.
 

Stitch01

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10-1 seems too expensive IMO.  Juice on future bets is pretty high, Id be surprised if the Pats were good value there at this point in the season.
 
Assuming they got the bye, 10% would imply something like being something like 70%/35%/40% to win each individual game.  I think that would be a bit high for each game given most likely/potential opponents. 
 

mulluysavage

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Well, I'd give them a better shot than I would have given them of winning yesterday's game down 26-14 with 2:40 left. Or than I would have given the Sox (at the start of this season) of winning the World Series. Or than I would have given the Bruins of making this year's Stanley Cup finals down 2 goals to Toronto 82 seconds away from elimination. Or than I would have given the Celtics of being in first place 22 games into this season.
 
Which is to say ... slim to none. :)


I think a good motto for this team would be "Why Not Us?" I also feel that the loss of Gronkowski can be made up for with unchecked, team- wide facial hair growth.
 

TheoShmeo

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Bellhorn said:
Perhaps a better way to word the poll question would be "can the Patriots win the SB without being at least a 6-point underdog at some point in the playoffs?" The answer is still yes, of course - the real flaw is treating this as a binary question, as others have pointed out. But it might do a better job of cutting through the semantic quibbling and getting at what the OP seems to want us to consider, which unless I have badly misunderstood, is the degree to which the team has now fallen below the top tier of playoff contenders.
Yep.  The point was to use the topic and questions as a vehicle for discussing the impact on the Pats prospects of the loss of Gronk.  Undoubtedly, I could have worded the questions better and I of course know this isn't binary.
 
I probably should have written something like "let's not get bogged down in the poll questions and let's discuss the gist of the underlying topic."  I will do that or something like that the next time I post a poll.
 

TheoShmeo

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Dehere said:
Best I can tell, futures wagering on NE to win it all now has the Pats at 10-1. That feels about right to me. Somebody upthread game them only a 5% shot and first thing I thought was that if I could get 19-1 on the Pats right now I'd unload. 10-1 gives you pause either way, which it should.

One thing not mentioned is that if the Patriots reach the Super Bowl it's going to be a de facto home game unless they somehow end up playing Philly. It's a huge advantage if one team is a same day drive to the game site and their fans can splurge on tickets without having to get a hotel. I think it would look like the PIT-SEA Super Bowl in Detroit, which was 90% Pittsburgh fans. The crowd and the weather should both favor NE if they're able to get to the SB.
Then again, Baltimore beat the Pats in NE twice in the playoffs in Foxboro in the last several years, as we know.  To be sure, having many more Pats fans there would be a big plus (as will a cold weather climate against many teams), but it's unfortunately not the be all and end all.
 

Dehere

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Stitch01 said:
10-1 seems too expensive IMO.  Juice on future bets is pretty high, Id be surprised if the Pats were good value there at this point in the season.
 
Assuming they got the bye, 10% would imply something like being something like 70%/35%/40% to win each individual game.  I think that would be a bit high for each game given most likely/potential opponents. 
 
Funny enough that's almost exactly what I came up with when I took a very quick and dirty guess at them winning each game.
 
Remember you've got to factor in multiple possible opponents. I gave them a 40% shot to win the AFCC based on:
 
- 25% chance to beat Denver in Denver (2/3 likely matchup)
- 70% chance to beat anyone else at home (1/3 likely matchup)
 
10-1 feels fair to me in that I wouldn't criticize anyone for taking a shot at it nor really argue with anyone who would pass either.
 

Dehere

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TheoShmeo said:
Then again, Baltimore beat the Pats in NE twice in the playoffs in Foxboro in the last several years, as we know.  To be sure, having many more Pats fans there would be a big plus (as will a cold weather climate against many teams), but it's unfortunately not the be all and end all.
 
Oh, of course, absolutely. I guess my point is that if you were to ask fans how the SB location will be a factor in this year's game, 100 fans out of 100 would mention the weather and I think very few would mention the potentially sizable crowd advantage that NE could have. I think it's kind of an overlooked factor when we talk about who could win it all.
 

axx

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Let's see how they do against Miami and Baltimore. If they lose both I think you can safely write them off.
 

Stitch01

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Dehere said:
 
Funny enough that's almost exactly what I came up with when I took a very quick and dirty guess at them winning each game.
 
Remember you've got to factor in multiple possible opponents. I gave them a 40% shot to win the AFCC based on:
 
- 25% chance to beat Denver in Denver (2/3 likely matchup)
- 70% chance to beat anyone else at home (1/3 likely matchup)
 
10-1 feels fair to me in that I wouldn't criticize anyone for taking a shot at it nor really argue with anyone who would pass either.
I didnt factor that in because I did a WAG type analysis and didnt want to go through the permutations of winning or losing the bye so I just calcuated the most likely outcome and kinda sorta hoped the not getting a bye chance vs. upset potential of opponents in the playoffs more or less washed.
Id have Denver as better than 2-1 in round 2 (I think they'd be a touchdown or better favorites at home against KC, Indy, or the six seed slop) and have the Pats lower at home against potential opponents but fair enough, its just quibbling over assumptions.
 

DJnVa

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Yes. There have been 8 Super Bowl winners since the last Pats win. Four of those teams won 9 or 10 games, and another won 11. You don't need to be this 13 win juggernaut to win the Super Bowl these days.
 
If the Pats win their next 3 games (or 2, if that last game ends up being meaningless) they are just as "hot" as a majority of these recent SB winners.
 

wiffleballhero

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Dehere said:
Best I can tell, futures wagering on NE to win it all now has the Pats at 10-1. That feels about right to me. Somebody upthread game them only a 5% shot and first thing I thought was that if I could get 19-1 on the Pats right now I'd unload. 10-1 gives you pause either way, which it should.

One thing not mentioned is that if the Patriots reach the Super Bowl it's going to be a de facto home game unless they somehow end up playing Philly. It's a huge advantage if one team is a same day drive to the game site and their fans can splurge on tickets without having to get a hotel. I think it would look like the PIT-SEA Super Bowl in Detroit, which was 90% Pittsburgh fans. The crowd and the weather should both favor NE if they're able to get to the SB.
Agreed. It will also be the same surface and same weather as home. These conditions will not likely be so familiar for the NFC team, assuming it is not Philly. A small issue, but it will not hurt.
 

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For long stretches of each game, the Patriots seem like the worst 10-3 team ever. But they have a knack for keeping games close enough and finishing strong. I don't see why they can't win it all. They are well coached and have Brady.
 

Stitch01

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Surprised they have the one seed at almost 20% given Denver's schedule.
 
They have the Pats 11% to win it all, but that doesnt account for the Gronk injury.
 

DJnVa

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Stitch01 said:
Surprised they have the one seed at almost 20% given Denver's schedule.
 
Maybe, but even a 75% chance of winning each game means they have about a 40% shot at dropping one. Couple that with NE going 3-0 over the same stretch and that seems about right.
 

Stitch01

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Id think Denver would be bigger favorites than that in every game
 
They're something like -475 (without juice) -11.5 this week vs SD then @ Houston @ Oakland to finish up the year.  
 
Plus Id think the Pats are 30% ish to win out to win out if that.  Basically two coin flips and they beat Buffalo nearly always.
 

Pumpsie

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No Wilfork, Mayo, Gronk, Seabass, Cannon, Hernandez, a crappy interior O-Line, and a banged up secondary which may or may not get healthy. Sure they have a chance. But I'd be happy with a playoff win this year let alone a SB appearance or SB win. Odds are stacked against them with those injuries.
This.  The way the season has gone with an avalanche of injuries to many of their best, and most important, players achieving ONE playoff win should be considered a success. You simply can't expect more than that with all the weaknesses other teams can exploit that those injuries have caused.  And to accomplish even that, they're going to have to avoid any more injuries from this point forward.  That means they'll need Dobson, Thompkins, Talib and Dennard at 100% which they currently are not.
 

ivanvamp

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Gronk got hurt in the third quarter of the Cleveland game.  Since that time they've played essentially 14 quarters of football (I'll give the Pats the entire 3rd quarter of the Cleveland game to make it a little easier).  During that time, the offense has put up:
 
108 points (7.7 per quarter, which comes to an average of 30.9 per game)
1500 yards (107.1 per quarter, which comes to an average of 428.6 per game)
94 first downs (6.7 per quarter, which comes to an average of 26.9 per game)
 
It's not exactly the uber-juggernaut of 2007 and 2012, but still, it's clear that their offense is just fine heading into the playoffs.
 

luckiestman

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I voted yes. I think the SB winner this year will be the worst team to win a sb that I have ever seen (I remember back to 85 and I cant imagine any of the winners back to then not being favorites on a neutral field against any of these teams).
 
 
 I'm trying to think of any team winning it this year that would shock me (maybe KC). I think this is the most wide open year in my lifetime.
 
 

Ed Hillel

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Right now, they should probably be considered the 3rd most likely team to win, behind Seattle and Denver. Carolina has a tougher road to get to the SB, though you could argue the weaker team they'd be playing in the SB itself offsets it. Still, I'm going with around 13-15% or so odds to win it all. Can't be upset with that, given what the team has gone through.
 

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luckiestman said:
I voted yes. I think the SB winner this year will be the worst team to win a sb that I have ever seen (I remember back to 85 and I cant imagine any of the winners back to then not being favorites on a neutral field against any of these teams).
 
 
 I'm trying to think of any team winning it this year that would shock me (maybe KC). I think this is the most wide open year in my lifetime.
 
 
Do you not follow the NFC or something? I mean, I don't watch as many NFC games either, but still...
 

DaughtersofDougMirabelli

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ivanvamp said:
Gronk got hurt in the third quarter of the Cleveland game.  Since that time they've played essentially 14 quarters of football (I'll give the Pats the entire 3rd quarter of the Cleveland game to make it a little easier).  During that time, the offense has put up:
 
108 points (7.7 per quarter, which comes to an average of 30.9 per game)
1500 yards (107.1 per quarter, which comes to an average of 428.6 per game)
94 first downs (6.7 per quarter, which comes to an average of 26.9 per game)
 
It's not exactly the uber-juggernaut of 2007 and 2012, but still, it's clear that their offense is just fine heading into the playoffs.
 
I think Gronk's injury still has it's greatest impact on the Red Zone offense. They have still struggled to score when the field gets small and big bodies are most important. 
 
Since Gronk's injury they have scored 8 TDs, 6 FGs, 1 INT (end of MIA game) which puts them at 53.33%. This is right below their season total of 55.38% (15th). 
 
They've scored more big plays which has absolutely helped but when it comes down to it I'm not totally confident this team can hang with Denver if we keep getting stopped in the RZ, Hopefully they learn to power run when the situation calls for it. 
 

luckiestman

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Reverend said:
 
Do you not follow the NFC or something? I mean, I don't watch as many NFC games either, but still...
 
Seattle is mediocre away from home and they are the class of the NFC. I might be misunderstanding your comment. 
 

DaughtersofDougMirabelli

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luckiestman said:
I voted yes. I think the SB winner this year will be the worst team to win a sb that I have ever seen (I remember back to 85 and I cant imagine any of the winners back to then not being favorites on a neutral field against any of these teams).
 
 
 I'm trying to think of any team winning it this year that would shock me (maybe KC). I think this is the most wide open year in my lifetime.
 
 
 
Denver with possibly the best offense of all time would be the worst team to win a SB that you have ever seen? 
 
How about the 9-7 2011 Giants? Or last years Ravens' team? Two teams that got hot once the playoffs started. 
 
On a neutral field I think Denver or Seattle could beat either of those teams. Denver is probably a better team this year than last and they only lost on basically a hail mary to the 2012 SB champion. 
 

luckiestman

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DaughtersofDougMirabelli said:
 
Denver with possibly the best offense of all time would be the worst team to win a SB that you have ever seen? 
 
How about the 9-7 2011 Giants? Or last years Ravens' team? Two teams that got hot once the playoffs started. 
 
On a neutral field I think Denver or Seattle could beat either of those teams. Denver is probably a better team this year than last and they only lost on basically a hail mary to the 2012 SB champion. 
 
Best offense of all time? That seems hilarious to me. Are people really saying that. I must not be paying enough attention, that's on me. 
 

Reardon's Beard

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DaughtersofDougMirabelli said:
 
I think Gronk's injury still has it's greatest impact on the Red Zone offense. They have still struggled to score when the field gets small and big bodies are most important. 
 
Since Gronk's injury they have scored 8 TDs, 6 FGs, 1 INT (end of MIA game) which puts them at 53.33%. This is right below their season total of 55.38% (15th). 
 
They've scored more big plays which has absolutely helped but when it comes down to it I'm not totally confident this team can hang with Denver if we keep getting stopped in the RZ, Hopefully they learn to power run when the situation calls for it. 
 
 

luckiestman

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DaughtersofDougMirabelli said:
 
Must.. not.. feed.. troll.  
Look Im a big Manning hater from his Tennessee days so Im biased, but I never considered this Denver team up there with the greatest show on turf, 2007 pats or the cunningham vikings. thats just the last 15 years. So you saying they are arguably the best all time surprises me. Id be more surprised if they won the SB than if they were 1 and done
 

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luckiestman said:
Look Im a big Manning hater from his Tennessee days so Im biased, but I never considered this Denver team up there with the greatest show on turf, 2007 pats or the cunningham vikings. thats just the last 15 years. So you saying they are arguably the best all time surprises me. Id be more surprised if they won the SB than if they were 1 and done
 
I think just the fact that they scored the most points, and most TDs, in a single season makes them arguably the best of all time. I'd argue to the death that the '07 Pats were better but there's an argument to be made that this Denver team is #1. 
 
That alone would make them a very good SB champion.
 
edit: This guy doesn't make a great argument, but people are really saying that. 
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/writer/pat-kirwan/24387600/where-do-2013-broncos-rate-among-greatest-alltime-offenses
 

Euclis20

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luckiestman said:
Look Im a big Manning hater from his Tennessee days so Im biased, but I never considered this Denver team up there with the greatest show on turf, 2007 pats or the cunningham vikings. thats just the last 15 years. So you saying they are arguably the best all time surprises me. Id be more surprised if they won the SB than if they were 1 and done
2 things:
 
First, are you kidding?  They scored more points than any other team in history.  That doesn't automatically give them the top spot, but it definitely earns them a spot at the table.
 
Second, your last sentence has nothing to do with the others.  You mentioned three other teams that you think have superior offenses....only 1 of whom won the super bowl.  Clearly, winning the super bowl isn't a prerequisite for being possibly the best offense ever.
 

Dogman

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luckiestman said:
 
Seattle is mediocre away from home and they are the class of the NFC. I might be misunderstanding your comment. 
 
 
They are 9-7 on the road since the start of 2012.  5 of those loses came last season.  They are first in points and yards on D and 8th and 17th in the same categories on offense for this season.
 
They are not mediocre in any way on the road.  
 
So, back to Rev's question.
 

luckiestman

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Euclis20 said:
2 things:
 
First, are you kidding?  They scored more points than any other team in history.  That doesn't automatically give them the top spot, but it definitely earns them a spot at the table.
 
Second, your last sentence has nothing to do with the others.  You mentioned three other teams that you think have superior offenses....only 1 of whom won the super bowl.  Clearly, winning the super bowl isn't a prerequisite for being possibly the best offense ever.
 
That's a valid point about my non sequitur. Beyond that though, If we just use counting stats, fine. The arguments over.The 2013 Denver Broncos are the best all time. I think the rules change way too much in football to do that and there are other strategic decisions that matter e.g. is it better to score a TD on an 8 minute drive or a 2 minute drive? Well, the time of possession team will put up less points overall but allow the opponent way less opportunity. 
 
I feel the same way about this as I do about Marino and Montana, I've had guys go bananas telling me Marino is just way better and it is all Bill Walsh and Rice and....that's their opinion, I like Montana, I like Brady over Manning and Favre  is not a guy I would want on my team (give me young, aikman, simms). Maybe Im crazy, but it is the way I look at the game. I like to look at baseball using metrics but that is because it has so many independent events. 
 

luckiestman

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Dogman2 said:
 
 
They are 9-7 on the road since the start of 2012.  5 of those loses came last season.  They are first in points and yards on D and 8th and 17th in the same categories on offense for this season.
 
They are not mediocre in any way on the road.  
 
So, back to Rev's question.
Yeah, they have 6 road wins this year, 5 of those teams wont be in the playoffs.  Should they make the SB this year? Yes. Do the Pats have a shot at beating them? My answer is yes.
 
Overall,I might need to re-evaluate my initial vote. Seems like the Pats have no shot  as we have the all time greatest offense in the AFC and a bunch of juggernauts in the NFC. 
 

TomTerrific

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Ed Hillel said:
Right now, they should probably be considered the 3rd most likely team to win, behind Seattle and Denver. Carolina has a tougher road to get to the SB, though you could argue the weaker team they'd be playing in the SB itself offsets it. Still, I'm going with around 13-15% or so odds to win it all. Can't be upset with that, given what the team has gone through.
 
All things considered, this sounds about right.
 
Seattle and Denver are clearly the best two teams, the Pats are in the next tier but have the advantage of a) having a bye (true for Carolina as well), and b) having an easier road to the SB by virtue of being in the AFC. Which means they have a fighting chance, and certainly a far better chance than Baltimore had at a similar point last year.
 

luckiestman

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Ahh, Im pissed off about the Celtics game, my posts are coming off douchey. 
 
 
Happy New Year
 

ivanvamp

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TomTerrific said:
 
All things considered, this sounds about right.
 
Seattle and Denver are clearly the best two teams, the Pats are in the next tier but have the advantage of a) having a bye (true for Carolina as well), and b) having an easier road to the SB by virtue of being in the AFC. Which means they have a fighting chance, and certainly a far better chance than Baltimore had at a similar point last year.
 
Why is Denver "clearly" better than New England?  Just by the record?  Well, fine, ok.  But remember that the Patriots lost only 4 times:
 
- By one touchdown on the road against the current #3 seed in the AFC in some horrid weather conditions.
- By 3 points on the road to the Jets, whose game-winning field goal was on a penalty that has never been called in NFL history before.
- By 4 points on the road to the current #2 seed in the brutal NFC, when the Pats got abjectly screwed on a call at the end of the game.
- By 4 points on the road to Miami, when they had a chance to win it in the last minute.
 
I know they had a few really nice comeback wins, against Denver, Houston, Cleveland, and New Orleans, but this team could easily have been 15-1 if things had broken differently.  Now obviously they aren't, but still.
 
Moreover, *they beat Denver head-to-head*.  
 
So Denver earned the #1 seed, and I think they're *probably* the best team in the AFC.  But in no way would I say they are CLEARLY the best team in the AFC.
 

DaughtersofDougMirabelli

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Yeah, they have 6 road wins this year, 5 of those teams wont be in the playoffs. Should they make the SB this year? Yes. Do the Pats have a shot at beating them? My answer is yes.

Overall,I might need to re-evaluate my initial vote. Seems like the Pats have no shot as we have the all time greatest offense in the AFC and a bunch of juggernauts in the NFC.


I don't think anyone here is saying the Pats don't have a chance and as it was pointed out up thread (and in the back of all our Pats fans' minds) the best offense does not equal a championship. I think you're just selling some of these teams short.

Home field advantage has become even more important this year (or at least since I can remember) where it seems like most teams pull off close wins if they're home, or lose heartbreakers on the road. They've already got one game at home and could be 2 of 2. That in itself proves they absolutely have a shot to win it all.
 

Pandemonium67

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The Seahawks road losses were at Indianapolis and San Francisco -- no great shame there (the home loss was to Arizona). They won the toughest division in the NFL. They've got a stout defense with a shutdown secondary. The O is somewhat up and down, but it balances a good running game with occasional big plays to Tate, and QB Wilson is a legitimate threat when he runs. The special teams are very good, and if Percy Harvin can make it -- he's back at practice -- the O and return game will be even better. 
 
This is potentially a very good team. They can win in bad weather, and cold won't bother them. If they end up as SB champs, they will not be the worst champ in years.
 
Can the Pats beat them? Of course.  I think the key would be McDaniels' game plan. For the Pats to win, I think they'll have to outsmart them -- something they're entirely capable of doing. 
 

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luckiestman said:
Ahh, Im pissed off about the Celtics game, my posts are coming off douchey. 
 
 
Happy New Year
 
Hey, it happens. But in all seriousness, have you watched Seattle play recently? Last game I saw them in, I felt like I was learning new things about secondary play just from watching them. Specifically, I was learning about things I didn't even know could happen the way they slide their defensive backs around. Haven't seen much of the 49ers but they're clearly no joke either.
 
To refer to something you said about baseball, if we've learned anything about Super Bowl championships from the last decade+, it's that the team we would assess as "best" over the regular season doesn't necessarily win--it's only a 16 game season and a 3-4 game playoff unlike baseball--it's about who is playing good ball at the right time. I like a lot of what I see from the Patriots right now, although whoever pointed out that we haven't seen much in terms of sustained drives might have had a point (the jerk).
 

Stitch01

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Jul 15, 2005
18,155
Boston
ivanvamp said:
Why is Denver "clearly" better than New England?  Just by the record?  Well, fine, ok.  But remember that the Patriots lost only 4 times:
 
- By one touchdown on the road against the current #3 seed in the AFC in some horrid weather conditions.
- By 3 points on the road to the Jets, whose game-winning field goal was on a penalty that has never been called in NFL history before.
- By 4 points on the road to the current #2 seed in the brutal NFC, when the Pats got abjectly screwed on a call at the end of the game.
- By 4 points on the road to Miami, when they had a chance to win it in the last minute.
 
I know they had a few really nice comeback wins, against Denver, Houston, Cleveland, and New Orleans, but this team could easily have been 15-1 if things had broken differently.  Now obviously they aren't, but still.
 
Moreover, *they beat Denver head-to-head*.  
 
So Denver earned the #1 seed, and I think they're *probably* the best team in the AFC.  But in no way would I say they are CLEARLY the best team in the AFC.
I think Denver has clearly been better over the course of the season. I'm hard pressed to find a metric that argues differently. The Pats would have had to run hotter than the sun this year to go 15-1. Their record is just about where it should be, maybe a game or so better. FO has them at 11 estimated wins.

Luckily it's not the best team trophy and they'll have more than a punchers chance in Denver
 

ivanvamp

captain obvious
Jul 18, 2005
6,104
Stitch01 said:
I think Denver has clearly been better over the course of the season. I'm hard pressed to find a metric that argues differently. The Pats would have had to run hotter than the sun this year to go 15-1. Their record is just about where it should be, maybe a game or so better. FO has them at 11 estimated wins.
Luckily it's not the best team trophy and they'll have more than a punchers chance in Denver
I understand what you're saying and I'm not saying I don't think Denver is better. But again, the Pats beat them head to head, never lost by more than a single score, had two wins literally gifted to the opposition thanks to calls/non-calls on the last play of the game, and the Pats played a tougher schedule than the Broncos did.

But regardless, I agree that the Pats have more than a puncher's chance in Denver, should it come to that.
 

Stitch01

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Jul 15, 2005
18,155
Boston
Won by only a single score seven times as well (three for Denver) and won four times on last minute scores.

Calls didn't cost the Pats two wins either. They would have had to score from the one in Carolina and score vs the Jets. Maybe 1-1.2 wins on average if you think both calls were clearly wrong.

Even if the Pats had won those two, Denver was pretty clearly the better regular season team. Point differential was 100 points better and all the advanced metrics favor Denver. They scored 600 points.