That title is as witty as this is going to get. Frankly, I’m baffled at the way the Patriots have played this season. Sure, New England just housed the Rams, but that should be the norm, not the exception. Did it really take Josh McDaniels seven weeks to realize Rob Gronkowski is the most uncoverable receiver in the NFL? Really? Did it really take Matt Patricia seven weeks to realize the Patriots are completely vulnerable to the pass and that the front four cannot generate enough pressure by themselves? Really? Heading into the bye week, New England still has plenty to work on, so that’s good for Coach Belichick as I’m sure he will find plenty wrong in the 45-7 victory over the Rams. The Rams? Yeah, well they have plenty to work on. Luckily, no one expected them to make the playoffs this season, let alone win the Super Bowl, so they have time on their side. The Patriots? They need to come out firing on a cylanders in Week 10.
The next five weeks are pivotal for the Patriots in terms of playoff positioning. They need to take the bye week and get healthy. Aaron Hernandez needs to be 100% come December. Belichick made a mistake bringing him back too soon once. He cannot afford to make that mistake again. Coming off of the bye, the Patriots get two home games which should be automatic wins. Sure, the Bills are a divisional opponent, so anything is possible. But let’s be real for a second. New England put 52 on them in week four after being down double digits at half time. And that was at Buffalo. The Bills aren’t beating the Patriots in New England. Moving on, the Patriots host Andrew Luck and the Colts after Buffalo. While Luck has the Colts currently as the sixth seed in the playoffs, he is still a rookie quarterback. There is no reason to sit back and let him pick you apart. Even if Luck has a good game, there is no reason the Patriots’ offense couldn’t put 35 points on the Colts’ defense. No excuse to lose that game, especially at home.
Then the Patriots get the Jets again, this time on Thanksgiving. Rex Ryan’s fat ass is going to be so thrown off from all that triptophene, there’s no chance New England drops that game. National television on Thanksgiving against a divisional opponent. Just don’t see it. Then at Miami before Houston at home. That Miami game is the definition of a trap game. On the road with a little more than a week to prepare, the Patriots cannot drop that game with Houston and San Francisco coming in the following two weeks. With three losses already on the record, a fourth loss before the Patriots even see the Texans and 49ers would all but secure a Wild Card game for New England. No need to make the playoffs that much more difficult. Take care of these next four games and let the chips fall where they may against the Texans and 49ers.
For the now 3-5 St. Louis Rams, there’s nothing to be ashamed of here. Jeff Fisher has now been outscored 104-7 in his last two meetings with Belichick. I don’t know if maybe he insulted him one time or what but clearly Belichick thoroughly enjoys pummeling Fisher’s teams. The Rams have built a solid defense (although you wouldn’t realize it after the past two games) and they’ll get the 49ers after their bye. That will likely put them at 3-6 before they host the Jets. If all works out positively for the Rams, they could be 5-7 heading into their trip to Buffalo. They win three of their last four (at Buffalo, Minnesota, at Tampa Bay, and at Seattle), and they will finish 8-8. Not the best season by any means, but certainly something to build upon. Now, it’s more likely they’ll finish 6-10 which seems just about right. But honestly, would you rather feel good about an 8-8 club with the 14th pick in the draft or finish 6-10 with a top 10 pick? Give me that top ten pick ALL day. Especially considering they will have multiple first round picks thanks to the RGIII trade.