Friday, January 16, 2004

Patriots over Eagles 

Smash reiterates his Super Bowl prediction in an open thread, and invites discussion. I for one totally agree!

First things first; gotta beat the Colts this weekend. The last time the Colts played on a cold January day, during last year's playoffs, they lost 41-0 to the Jets, the second worst defeat in NFL postseason history. (It was 50 in KC last week when they beat the Chiefs.) I'm not saying the same is going to happen at Gillette on Sunday, but remember that Peyton Manning is a New Orleans boy, spent his college days in Knoxville, and now plays his home games in a domed stadium. The only time in the last two seasons he played in the cold was the aforementioned blowout against the Jets. The Colts beat the Broncos in the snow in 2001, but the 2001 Broncos were not the 2003 Patriots, and Mike Shanahan is not Bill Belichick.

The Colts are coming in on a cold day, although it'll be a far cry from the single digits of last Saturday. They are facing a team that set an NFL record for fewest points allowed at home in a 16 game season. They are facing an offense that controls the ball and a quarterback who, to paraphrase Tony Dungy, gets the job done when it needs to get done. And they are facing a swarming, opportunistic defense that will be perfectly prepared by the game's best defensive strategist.

They are facing a team that built up a 21 point lead against them in their own building on Nov. 30, only to let them back into the game via a pass-happy offense which turned the ball over a couple times. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis chose to come out throwing instead of working the clock and protecting the lead by staying on the ground. The Colts came back, and only lost because the Pats stopped them on four consecutive 4th-and-goal plays from the 2.

The Patriots learned a valuable lesson from that game, so don't expect a repeat.

The Pats are going to win again, and it won't be a squeaker this time.
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