Sunday, October 17, 2010

Leading Pigskin Indicators

If the Patriots beat the Ravens today, that would be a strong indication that New England will be a very good team all season. Baltimore is the most difficult opponent the Pats have faced so far. Any team that beat the Steelers and Jets on the road has legit conference championship credentials (not that the Ravens will get there, just that the possibility obviously exists).

BUT, the Pats are at home, and good teams are supposed to beat other good teams when they're at home. So while a victory would be quite the feather in New England's cap, it wouldn't be an entire Sioux headdress. For at least one observer to raise his (my) evaluation of the Patriots to that of realistic Super Bowl contender, I'd need further evidence.

To wit: If the Pats beat the Ravens today without scoring either a defensive or special teams touchdown, THEN I'd rate them very highly indeed. Such sudden and unexpected touchdowns are marvelous things, and teams can and do win Super Bowls leaning on them. Ask the 2009 Saints.

However, if we ask the 2010 Saints, they might tell us that opportunistic big plays tend to come and go on their own whim. And when they go, a team better have plain old vanilla sound football to fall back on.

The Pats are apparently rededicating themselves to the glories of vanilla. Today would be fine time to help themselves to a double scoop. No jimmies, either.


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