So you know how the Patriots always seem to find a way to lose a game they have no business losing once a season? It was Buffalo last year. It was Cleveland the year before that. It was the Dolphins in 2009. It was...ummm...
For some reason, I can't seem to remember who they lost to in 2007. Weird.
The point is that the Patriots are always good for at least one frustrating, uncharacteristic, man-did-they-just-play-like-crap loss every season where the team either looks flat out bad coming out of the gate or the opposing team simply has a more effective gameplan in place. It's almost as reliable as Adam Vinatieri in a game-winning situation or Devin McCourty drawing a pass interference call. We as Patriots fans have come to accept the fact that the team is good for a stinker every year. And for the most part, we're OK with it.
My question, though, is: did we already see it?
Did the Patriots already take their one lousy loss of the year Week 2 at home against Arizona? Or have the Cardinals turned out to be a pretty respectable team this year who continue to turn heads as the season rolls on?Furthermore, if New England goes into Seattle and loses tomorrow, will that game count as the annual crappy L? Is Seattle a clearly inferior team?
To be honest, I had this game pegged as a loss back before the season started, as what I thought would be a 3-1 Patriots team came into Seattle, played lousy, and went home to a lot of game film of all the points they left on the board and a very angry Bill Belichick. And to be honest, it's difficult for me to change my mind right now. On the plus side, the Pats are playing better than I thought they would at this point in the season. But on the minus side, so is Seattle, and that combined with the distinct home-field advantage that accompanies playing at CenturyLink Field leads me to believe that this game is going to be a close one.
The bottom line is that I no longer consider Seattle to be a bad team. Granted, I haven't seen them play all that much, but their defense looks phenomenal and they have an absolute monster back there at running back. The Seahawks seem to have been winning games by relying on the run, relying on the defense to keep points off the board, and getting just a little bit of help from the replacement officials on Hail Mary plays. The relative one-dimensional nature of Seattle's offense does play into New England's strengths, as one thing that the team has, for the most part, done very well so far this season is take away an opponent's best weapon and make the team beat them elsewhere. If the Patriots can contain Marshawn Lynch tomorrow, I think that they will be in good shape. However, they absolutely HAVE to protect Tommy B and give him time to pick apart what is a suspect Seahawks secondary.
I think I'm going to take the Patriots to win this game, 23-17. But if they lose, I'm not going to be overly shocked.
And I'm not going to chalk it up there to a lousy day.