Week 14 – The Mattyoshow Review

In this segment I will provide a weekly review for the previous weekend’s Patriots game, as well as my prediction for next weekend’s game.

-Not to boast, but for the majority of the season my “What to Look For…” segment has provided some pretty good insight into the Patriots games, and the issues touched upon are usually very relevant to what actually occurs.  This past week, I was not even close.  With the predicted weather conditions, I though that this game would turn into an uglier version of a Ravens-Steelers game.  Run after run, relentless defense, turnovers happening all over the place…but no.  The Patriots came out and in nine degree weather, snow falling, and wind gusts up to 40 mph, they lined up in their five-wide formation on the first play of the game and threw a pass.  Brady accumulated 369 yards on 27-40 passing for two touchdowns.  Both Deion Branch and Wes Welker went over 100 yards receiving.  I feel like I have never been more wrong in my entire life…and yet don’t really mind because they pulled out a win.

-I thought that the loss of Brandon Spikes would be more evident than it was on Sunday.  Gary Guyton and Dane Fletcher filled in at inside linebacker, and did a great job throughout the whole game.  Their statistics may not reflect how well that they played (Guyton 2 tackles, one assist – Fletcher 0 tackles), but when your leading tackler only has four stops, stats may not be the best measure of performance.  The Patriots allowed only 46 total yards on the ground, and never really let the Bears run game get into sync.  Granted, being down 21 points in the middle of the second quarter doesn’t really help your run production, but the job that Guyton and Fletcher did in the middle still needs to be recognized.

-Devin McCourty strikes again.  This kid is truly amazing.  He leads the team with six interceptions and, as a rookie in one of the league’s most complex schemes (although I think that coach Belichick has “dumbed it down” a bit to accommodate all of the young guys), that is an impressive feat.  Even when McCourty isn’t picking off passes he’s making plays that have huge impacts on the game.  The fumble that McCourty forced in the second quarter yesterday that was subsequently returned for a touchdown by the aforementioned Gary Guyton, was essentially the nail in the Bears’ coffin.  I know, proclaiming that a game is over in the second quarter may be a bit unrealistic, but the anemia that was infused in Chicago’s offense yesterday left little doubt in my mind that 21 points would win the game.  McCourty did leave the game in the second quarter with a rib injury, but told reporters while leaving the locker room yesterday that he was “Ok.”

-I’m not big on worrying about who the best team in the NFL is on a week to week basis, simply because it doesn’t really matter and it actually changes from week to week.  Whether Trent Dilfer thinks that the Patriots, Falcons, Eagles, Ravens, Steelers or whoever is the best team does not matter to me, or should it to you, in the least bit.  What does matter is how this team is playing football.  I was not as high on the Bears as other people may have been, but you can’t really scoff at a 9-4 record.  I was actually very high on the Jets, even considering them to be better than the Pats until last week, and at 9-4 they seem to be a formidable team too.  The same story goes for the Steelers and the Ravens.  My point here is that the Patriots are currently playing some of the best football that I have seen this year, and maybe over the past few years.  This offense, even without the big name guys (specifically Mr. Moss), is performing at an equal efficiency to the 2007 version that set all kinds of offensive records.  The run game is finally a continued factor, and the defense becomes more impressive on a weekly basis.  It is time to realize that the New England Patriots are currently a group of 61 players (53 active, 8 practice squad) that have completely bought in to the “Belichickian” way.  If their play continues at this level, there is no limit to the amount of success that can be experienced.  It is important for us all to realize how lucky we are to see such a great product on a weekly basis.  It is important for us to realize how truly amazing of a player Tom Brady is (like top 5 quarterbacks of all-time amazing).  It is important for us realize that we have the greatest coach in NFL history patrolling the sidelines for our favorite team.  You may think I’m being dramatic and over-reactant, but I’m simply expressing to you all what will be realized in twenty years when Belichick and Brady are old, grayer, and reflection of their greatness finally is underway.  Appreciate what is brought to you every Sunday, or the occasional Monday, and understand how great the New England Patriots truly are.

-NEXT WEEK’S PREDICTION (assuming Aaron Rodgers is out) – Patriots 31 – Packers 10

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