Weak Competition Makes Undefeated Season Realistic For Pats

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The recent talk of an undefeated season for the Patriots seems a little silly, doesn’t it? On the surface, yes, it is. It’s week 7, the Patriots are faced with 11 more games, and the old cliché “any given Sunday” seems to ring true every week. Parody is king in this league, and upsets are the name of the game. So why does the chatter of another run at 16-0 continue to grow louder by the week? Because while the Patriots seem as strong as they’ve ever been, the rest of the league appears to be getting worse.

I sit down every Sunday to watch football and I’m increasingly shocked by how bad every other team seems to be.

Somehow, someway, there are only 4 teams not named the Patriots in the AFC with a winning record. The Denver Broncos are undefeated, despite Peyton Manning leading the league in interceptions. The Cincinnati Bengals, notorious fraud contenders, are also undefeated. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who have spent the majority of the year missing major contributors like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell, and wide receiver Martavis Bryant, are 4-2 (one of those losses coming in New England). The Ryan Fitzpatrick-led New York Jets are, surprisingly, 4-1 and are apparently competent enough to beat up on the dredges of the league such as Cleveland, Washington, and the Dolphins. Consider me unimpressed.

Oh, and the lowly Indianapolis Colts are the division leaders (by default) in the AFC South. They did this on Sunday.

That’s all we have to say about the Colts, right?

The Patriots are a talented, well-coached team in an age where it seems like talented rosters and good coaches never seem to go hand and hand. That is the true recipe for success in the NFL, and the Patriots are one of the few owners of that cookbook. The Green Bay Packers, one of the best teams in football, lost last year’s NFC Championship because head coach Mike McCarthy couldn’t figure out how to manage fourth downs. The Seattle Seahawks won that game as a result, and then went on to the Super Bowl to have head coach Pete Carroll hand away the Lombardi to the Patriots on the goal line. Thanks for passing, Pete.

It’s hard to find more than a handful of games that the Patriots schedule that any fan would consider a potential loss. There’s no doubt that the big game is Denver, November 29th at Mile High. Clear your schedule that day, that’s the true road block on the trip to 16-0. Sure, the chances will always be there for a letdown against a decent opponent like the Jets, the Bills, or the Giants, but the Patriots should be favored to win all those games. The remaining games on the schedule features the likes of the Redskins, Titans, and the Texans. If you think the Patriots will lose to any of those teams, you’re the only one.

Will the Pats avoid a hiccup and go undefeated? History would suggest they won’t. There’s a reason only two teams have put together perfect regular season campaigns in league history. It’s extremely hard to win games in the NFL.

But it’s a lot easier when you’re good and seemingly everyone else is bad. Just ask the undefeated Patriots.

Matt McCarthy is the sports anchor for the Cape Cod Morning News on 107.5 WFCC. He is a news anchor and reporter for 99.9 The Q, Cape Country 104, and Ocean 104.7. He can also be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.

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