Becoming a champion is a crap shoot even when you’re good. There’s an old saying, “I’d rather be lucky than good”, and the Patriots are good. Now, all they need is some luck. Take a look at any super bowl team and they will show you a series of events that helped them, nobody is that good. At 5-1 the New England Patriots are primed for another run at an AFC East title and hopefully a deep playoff run. Facing their toughest stretch that will decide who the 2011 Patriots are, we can’t help but be optimistic.
Injuries are the great equalizer in the NFL, so the Patriots need some luck in that department. Getting Jerod Mayo back is a start, but staying healthy is a must.
The offense will now get bad weather games going into November and December, and though traditionally, the run game will have to kick up another notch. The key for the Patriots to get to the super bowl is keeping Tom Brady as healthy as possible. The run game turns the Patriots passing attack deadly with the play action and finishes games.
The defense is coming along and getting Devin McCourty untracked will be a key factor. McCourty was all world in 2010, but a no show so far in 2011. Kyle Arrington is playing at a high level and needs McCourty to be the physical book end for the secondary to make more strides.
The coaching staff outside of Bill Belichick has to step up. The Buffalo game is a perfect example - the offense staying with the spread, when running the ball would have won the game. It’s hindsight, we know what happened the next game.
Also, they have to learn from last year’s playoff lesson that in a blink of an eye, it can all go bad. In the next three weeks, they face the Pittsburg Steelers, New York Giants and New York Jets, and for all intent and purposes, it's for their season. The Steelers are an AFC conference foe, and the Patriots could hand the Jets a huge set back (NY has 2 games with Buffalo also in November) that could end their season.
Most importantly, 2010 was 2010 and that’s where you have to leave it.