(apologies to Peter King for modeling my title after his)
1. The Jets should be 5-4-1: and trailing us by 2 1/2 games in the standings. If the Lions and Texans weren't completely incapable of managing the clock or end of game situations or even remembering the first rule of pass defense (keep the receiver in front of you) and if the Browns could tackle, New York would have lost to Detroit and Houston and tied Cleveland. These miraculous finishes of theirs are becoming highly irritating. I don't know who Rex Ryan paid off or what he promised in exchange, but he has gotten three consecutive gifts from the football gods. (And to the national sports media: can we just wait a little while longer before we start mentioning Sanchez in the same sentence with Brady and Manning? Like until he actually wins something?).
2. Last year's defense wouldn't have made that play Sunday: that James Sanders interception was a thing of beauty. It's one of those iconic plays and last year's defense would not (and did not) make plays like that. That was the definition of a clutch pick. And yet, how many of you were thinking the same thing I was---why couldn't Asante Samuel have done that in Super Bowl 42?
3. The last two games have felt like the playoffs: consecutive games at Pittsburgh and Indy at home is exactly the kind of schedule we'd likely see come playoff time and the intensity and emotion of the games certainly had a playoff feel to it.
4. The tiebreakers are all falling our way: if we keep winning as much, we may not need them but it's nice to know that if we do slip up a bit and drop some games, that we hold the head-to-head tiebreakers with some pretty good football teams--the Ravens, the Chargers, the Steelers, and the Colts. Those teams would have to catch up to us for us to need it, but it's great to know those teams would have to come to Gillette in January if we played them.
5. Patriots won't overlook the Lions but a letdown seems inevitable: if the Steelers and Colts games were the AFC playoffs, this should be the bye week before the Super Bowl. And yet we've got a game against a potentially dangerous Lions team tomorrow. I know they won't look past it but with back to back emotional games and a short week, I wonder how well they'll be able to do. I'd love a blowout but I'll take anything that equals a victory--and I worry that we might have to gut one out Thursday before getting a well-deserved 11 day rest after a brutal 3 games in 11 days stretch.
6. Could any game be bigger than Patriots-Jets on Monday night football December 6?: the only thing at stake is everything.
7. In this Thanksgiving season, aren't we glad we're Patriots fans?: it's not just because we win so much but because of how fundamentally stable and solid our team is. How would you like to be a Vikings or Cowboys fan these days? Or a Bengals or Texans fan? Or a Redskins or Titans fan and have to see all your team's dirty laundry hung out for everyone to see? I love the Patriots in large part because of the way the way they conduct business--privately, behind closed doors, and without any publicity. "Do your job" is one of my favorite phrases, and the Patriots organization does that relentlessly--and they are relentlessly successful as a result. Thank you, Patriots! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!