Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Patriots Schedule Looking Very Friendly

Bill Belichick is a one game at a time kind of coach and I respect that, really I do.

However, considering the Patriots hot start to the 2015 season, a quick glance at the schedule makes me believe this team is going to be tough to stop.

Now I'm not going to say that the Patriots are heading to a 16-0 season.  This is not a perfect team, especially when defending the pass, and I expect at least one "let down" game to factor into their record at some point.  Injuries are also another factor to consider as no team survives a season unscathed.

Ultimately, I say they finish 13-3 and head into the playoffs as the number one seed in the AFC.

Disclaimer aside, looking over the schedule, here are the reasons why the Patriots will win the next fourteen games.  I will try my best to avoid just writing "Brady and Gronkowski" next to every game but I can't promise anything.

September 27 vs. Jacksonville: The Jaguars pulled one out against the Dolphins yesterday but Blake Bortles is too inexperienced and doesn't have enough high end talent around him to keep pace with an offense led by Brady and Gronkowski.

October 11 at Dallas: This would have been a hell of a game to watch but the injury bug has not just bitten the Cowboys, it has eaten out their heart.  After losing Dez Bryant to a foot injury in Week 1, Dallas yesterday learned they will be without quarterback Tony Romo for quite a while as well. Imagine the Patriots offense without Brady and Gronkowski and you understand the predicament of the Cowboys.  Romo and Bryant are expected back later in the season but it won't be enough to beat the Patriots.

October 18 at Indianapolis: The Colts have quite a bit of offensive talent surrounding Andrew Luck but their defense is still softer than wet toilet paper and after being steamrolled by the Patriots in their last three meetings I can't fathom them pulling this one out against the defending champions.  Even if the Colts commit to stopping the run, they can't expect to stop Brady and Gronkowski, especially with the Patriots coming off their bye week.

October 25 vs. New York Jets: An always tough divisional match-up becomes even tougher with new coach Todd Bowles bringing his defensive acumen to the Jets and with Darrelle Revis back behind enemy lines.  The Jets might be able to slow down the Brady and Gronkowski led offense but their offense, led by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, will not be enough to win in Foxboro.

October 29 vs. Miami: Both teams will be playing on a short week but other than having a coaching advantage and a talent advantage - I hear that the tandem of Brady and Gronkowski is pretty tough to stop - the Patriots also will be playing at home so the Dolphins will not be winning this game.

November 8 vs. Washington: Count me as a fan of what Jay Gruden is doing with the Redskins with a ball control offense and a stout defense but the Patriots will have extra time to prepare for this game and their talent advantage, especially the combination of Brady and Gronkowski, will be way too much for Washington to stop.

November 15 at New York Giants: The Giants always play the Patriots tough and are the only thing standing between Brady and Belichick having six Super Bowl rings together.  However the Giants are struggling this year on both sides of the ball and I cannot see them scoring enough to stay with the Patriots or being able to stop Brady and Gronkowski.

November 23 vs. Buffalo: I'm sure Rex Ryan will be running his mouth leading up to this meeting on Monday Night Football but we all saw this week  that the Bills cannot stop Brady and Gronkowski      - or Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, or Aaron Dobson - and that Tyrod Taylor is not good enough to put up the points needed to beat the Patriots.

November 29 at Denver: The Patriots will have a short week to prepare for their trip to Mile High Stadium but as we have seen Peyton Manning's physical decline impact the Broncos ability to keep up with a good offense let alone a great offense led by Brady and Gronkowski.  Denver does have an excellent defense but Josh McDaniels always seems to scheme a game plan that negates the strength of the opposing defense so expect to see a lot of spread formations and quick passes that will slow down the Broncos pass rush.

December 6 vs. Philadelphia: Chip Kelly's team is not as bad as they have looked at the start of the season and I anticipate this will be a match-up of two Super Bowl contenders by game time but the Eagles defense will not be able to contain Brady and Gronkowski and Matt Patricia's defense will be ready to stop the hurry up offense employed by Kelly because the Patriots run a similarly fast tempo offense so it will not take them by surprise.  Also, Belichick's teams are 52-8 in the month of December since 2001.

December 13 at Houston: The much anticipated match-up of the Patriots and "Patriots South" already looks like a tremendous mismatch.  Bill O'Brien's Texans are lacking at quarterback as neither of Brady's former understudies - Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett - seem to have what it takes to take the Texans to the level of a playoff team.  I'm very excited to see Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, who came off as an arrogant muscle head on HBO's "Hard Knocks", get embarrassed by Brady and Gronkowski.

December 20 vs Tennessee: The Titans have a bright future with Marcus Mariota at quarterback and I would not be surprised to see them come to Gillette Stadium still in contention for a playoff spot in the AFC.  However, the Titans will be a victim of the previously mentioned Belichikian dominance in December as Brady and Gronkowski continue to amass the eye-popping statistics that will have them both in the MVP discussion.

December 27 at New York Jets: The late December trip to the Meadowlands will likely provide Brady and Gronkowski a chance to set some records while also knocking the Jets out of the AFC playoff picture.  Have I mentioned that Belichick is 52-8 in December since 2001?

January 3 at Miami: The Patriots will ring in 2016 with a trip to South Beach.  My guess is that the Dolphins will be operating under either a lame duck coach or an interim coach by this point and if they're even playing in this game, Brady and Gronkowski will continue their tour de force in the final regular season game before heading into the playoffs.

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