Friday, January 20, 2012

Why Patriots will win super bowl XLVI

Despite being the most dominant team since the start of this millennium, the New England Patriots have more questions than ever. This isn’t your dad’s Patriots or should I say, this isn’t your older brother’s Patriots since we are only going back a couple of years. For the last two years, there has only been one fixture to the Patriots defense: big Vince Wilfork clogging up the middle. The rest of the unit has been plagued with injured players, failed draft picks, waiver wire pickups, and even a receiver playing cornerback. Clearly with this defense, one would think that the Patriots have no shot. They can’t even stop a nosebleed, right Bart Scott?  In most cases, a defense ranked near the bottom of the league would have never made it to 13 wins or have a shot at going to the Super Bowl. But not all defenses have Tom Brady. Brady has done enough that we can never count him out, even though he was upset the past two years in playoff games at his own stadium. Brady has been so good for so long, these recent shortcomings will never make us forget the clutch drives and 3 rings he has already achieved. One might think that having a supermodel wife, building a mansion in California, and starring in multiple Ugg commercials would make Brady lose sight of the goal of winning another Super Bowl. But after hearing Ochocinco’s comments last week, it’s clear that no one wants to win more than Brady. Already a lock for the Hall of Fame, Brady still has this need to keep proving himself like he was drafted in the 6th round just yesterday. Maybe people have forgotten how truly unbelievable he is and have moved on to the next generation of Eli, Brees, and Rodgers. But whatever it is that makes Tom Brady tick, it still drives him to grow his legacy. Random thought. The word grow made me think of his ridiculously long hair last season. He is the only sports figure that Mcfarlane has made in three versions, each with a different Tom Brady hairdo. Now that’s legendary. 

  • Tom Brady, enough said
  • The dueling twin dragons of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. It’s pick your poison for opposing teams because there is no way you are stopping both tight ends. Gronkowski provides unbelievable size, reliability in the passing game, and strength to break tackles, while Hernandez allows flexibility to be creative, seen last week when he lined up as a running back.
  • Experience. Tom Brady and Coach Belichick have the most wins in history for a coach and quarterback combo and look to continue adding to that record. Although the rest of the team is young, the leadership has been here, done that and will by now have seen it all.
  • Bill Belichick is still a football genius even though his defense has come out flat for the last two years. I would be scared to see how this defense would perform under another coach; something tells me it would be much worse. Bill Belichick is a defensive mastermind and has gotten the most out of this rag tag bunch of no-names.

  • Pass rush has been a struggle and only became a bigger uphill battle with the loss of Andre Carter to injury a couple games ago.
  • Secondary has never had the time to gel and has been dealing with injuries all year. There is some talent in this unit, but too many times they give up big plays which lead to quick and easy scores.
  • Linebackers have not been very consistent in a long time; it has gotten to the point where Bill Belichick doesn’t feel always comfortable running his traditional 3-4. Although there has been improvement of late with Rob Ninkovich finally getting some pressure on quarterbacks, they still need improvement in stopping the run when the opposition gets by Wilfork.
  • Run game has always been inconsistent in New England, but with the passing game working so well, few even notice. Maybe with the addition of Aaron Hernandez in the backfield, things will improve.

Keys to success:
  • Patriots need to score over 30 points to stay ahead of what is sure to be many points given up by the Patriot defense.
  • Defense needs to bend but not break. The key to this game is trying to hold teams to field goals, which could be easier versus teams like the 49ers and Ravens but will be a challenge against the Giants.
  • One offensive player besides Brady, Gronkowski, and Hernandez needs to step up. This easily could be Wes Welker who had an amazing start to his season, but slowed down after teams began to take notice. I would love to see Woodhead or Branch step up in a big moment to make teams pay for doubling the two tight ends.
  • Patriots need to possess the ball and keep their defense off the field. I believe for them to win, the Patriots need to actually slow down the tempo during part of the game so that they can keep that leaky defense on the bench.

Reasons why they will win it all:

Of the last four teams remaining, no offense has more pressure to score than that of the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick needs to coach the games of his life because this defense lacks talent and experience. At one point this year when two of the defensive players were introduced on screen, it took me a minute to realize why they weren’t saying their name and school. Their faces were on a photo, not video. Both players had never started and were thrown in so last minute that NBC did not have the time to tape them. That basically tells the story of this defense and the lack of time to gel, but we are seeing improvements that should be enough to get it done. Tom Brady and company will out-score their opponent and no player in the league wants it more than Brady. There will always be a mismatch on the field for Brady to pick apart even in the top defenses in the league. There is no one in the history of the NFL quite like Gronkowski. He’s a 6 foot 7 inch giant who can run, leap, and catch most balls thrown his way. Let’s not forget his ability to just truck players smaller than him trying to bring him down. We will be seeing Gronkowski’s famous touchdown celebration spike that goes about 10 yards into the air. Brady will take advantage of whatever is left open, which includes a long list of midget-like weapons (Branch, Welker, Edelman , and Woodhead), Hernandez, and the law firm BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Scoring will be high, but when the game is on the line there might not be a quarterback you would take over Tom Brady to lead the game winning drive, even if it means that the game ends with a field goal.


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