Well Pats couldn't close out Dolphins to take number one seed, but at least Cinncy lost so we retain a much needed first round bye. Let's face it this Pats team is not the dominating offensive juggernaut we are used to. With out Gronk we kick way too many field goals in the Red Zone. We will also likely run more as well, both of which will keep games close going forward. Our D with all the injuries is middle of the pack better against the pass than the run for a change, but still having a tough time with key stops and getting off the field. Now I thought with a healthy offense with Gronk we could beat anybody on any given day, but with out Gronk it will be much harder especially against good defensive teams. I am not saying the season is over. The team has shown great resolve and is gritty even when punched in the mouth. They have shown poise when necessary to win games. Yesterday unfortunately they came up short. There were 3 or 4 plays that would have resulted in a different outcome. A missed field goal, a drop by Ammendola in the end zone. Some missed tackles and bad angles on D, but other then those 4 or 5 plays the team played ok with only a handful of options at receiver. We will get Dobson or Thompkins back soon and D while still looking vulnerable is looking a bit better than few games ago. We can beat any team when we play well but the games will be close. The O will get better in final few games adjusting to life without Gronk and Dobsin and Thompkins will give them better options in the red zone. The D hopefully will continue its progression giving valuable reps to Collins and Fletcher and finding the best combinations on the defensive line.
If we can keep our first round bye it is only 3 games to win it all something this team can achieve. Will we be favored no, but I like when the Pats have a chip on their shoulder. If they play error free football they can get to the big game. No team in the AFC is so dominant that we can't beat them. The Superbowl will be a bit tougher as the NFC has more well rounded teams and any AFC team will likely be an underdog. San Fran and Seattle are likely the two favorites but both teams are beatable. Seattle is unbeatable at home, but come the SB they will be playing in NY where the Pats will have more hometown support. It will be outdoors and in the cold all factors which favor the Pats.
After Gronk I have lowered my expectations; it is a lot to ask a team with so many key injuries to win it all. At the same time you can't count them out. I can assure you one thing, no team will want to play us in the playoffs. While I think next year more likely to go all the way when we are healthier, you can't count this team out.
Where do you think this team will end up. take the poll?