Sunday, December 21, 2008


Thanks to the Seattle Seahawks, the Patriots still have life in regards to the playoffs. The Jets, less so.

New England handled business in The Razor with a thorough dismantling of the NFC West champion Cardinals in every phase of the game. Any euphemism you can think of to describe this game, it's what the Pats did to the warm weather team that hasn't played a game in the snow in two and a half decades.

Matt Cassel outplayed Kurt Warner, Jabar Gaffney pretty much outplayed Larry Fitzgerald, hell, Cassel, Sammy Morris, and Lamont Jordan all put up better rushing stats than any running back on Arizona's roster.

Mike Wright and Jarvis Green did something rare this season - put pressure, regularly, on the Cardinals signal callers. Even wide receiver Matthew Slater got into the act while playing safety, springing Brandon Merriweather free on a blitz.

It was a good win for the Patriots who needed it, and a bad loss for a team looking to make some noise in the post season.

Looking at the rest of the AFC East still alive for the playoffs - the second life of Brett Favre is paling in comparison to that of Chad Pennington. If Eric Mangini doesn't do something drastic, the Dolphins will almost definitely be the AFC East champs next weekend.

One quick thought on that -

There's a very strong possibility that the Pats will go 11-5 and miss the playoffs. If that happens, so be it - it has already been a better season than I could possibly have imagined given the litany of season ending injuries to the likes of Tom Brady, Rodney Harrison, Laurence Maroney, Tedy Bruschi, and others on the Pats roster. It is also reassuring for next year.

There will be a lot made about how the rest of the AFC East has closed the gap, pointing to the records - and they have indeed closed the gap, but I don't think that either the Jets or 'Phins split with the Pats if New England has a healthy Tom Brady.

This is what I believe in regards to the AFC East -

Chad Pennington has helped the Dolphins close the gap significantly more than Brett Favre has.

I think the end of the season Brett Favre is more likely what we will see for the majority of next season than the beginning of this past season Brett Favre. The tank is running on empty. At best, he has eight good games left in him. It would be nice if one of them came next weekend.

The injuries to the Pats this year could be a blessing in disguise, as it will make competition at linebacker and defensive back much more fierce next season. I expect more from the defense next season, and also believe that the Pats brain trust will address that side of the ball in the draft.

I'm not convinced Scott Pioli is going anywhere, but there will be a lot of rumors about where he's going to end up.

I do think Josh McDaniels is going somewhere, but I don't know if he's ready to run his own show yet.

One last note - Detroit is one game away from a perfect season. I'm rooting for the Packers next weekend.

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