My father has been saying it for years. I heard it from my teachers, my friends, and homeless men on the street. My boss has it scrolling across her computer as a screen saver and my co-workers discuss it when they think I'm out to lunch (I'm actually just asleep under my desk). I never really paid it all that much attention, but after today, I think that they were on to something.
I'm really not all that bright.
Now if you've been following my posts over the past few weeks, this revelation comes as no shock to you. If you've read my ridiculous rants, my insane comparisons, and the odd conclusions I've jumped to, you probably came to realize that I'm not playing with a full deck some time ago. That I'm not too smart is only fair, I guess; after all, I have a lot of other things going for me. Between the killer good looks, the robust five-figure salary, and a healthy fondness for cake, I'd say I have a pretty sweet deal. But when it comes to intelligence, cleverness, or just plain common sense, I'm right up there with Gomer Pile and The Situation. I could try to spin it and say my stupidity is just part of my boyish charm, but the truth of the matter is that there is absolutely nothing boyish or charming about me. Oh well.
So what would a man of my vastly inferior intelligence do on this last Jump to Conclusions Mat before the regular season starts? Maybe try and save some face by calling a layup, something guaranteed like the Patriots are going to make the playoffs or that Rex Ryan is going to be annoying all season? That's what a smart man would do - but not this guy. I figure if you're going to be dumb, you may as well be the dumbest dumb that ever dumbed, and so I've decided to go for broke and expose my witlessness to the world by predicting the results of every regular season game the New England Patriots are going to play this year.
I know I don't have much to go off of here other than my own observations and my (ample) gut instinct. I know that once I post this article, it is going to be on the web for all to see. But that's alright. I'm ready to face the consequences. And the good news is that if I end up looking foolish (which is likely), odds are I'll be to oblivious to know that anyone is making fun of me. So what do I have to lose?
To those of you who are superstitious - just stop reading now. You all know that you can reverse any kind of curse, hex, or spook I just put on the Patriots by simply choosing not to read any further. You may want to take the extra precaution and lock your computer in the closet next to the dead cat and the jar of lamb's blood, but I'll let you decide that for yourselves.
So here we go. There's no turning back now.
Find out how the Patriots are going to fare this season after the jump.
At Miami, September 12th. Going on the road is always tough. Going on the road against a division opponent whose home opener is the first Monday Night Football game of the season is even tougher. Tony Sporano circled this game the second the schedules were released, and the Dolphins are going to come out swinging. Pats are still going to pull it out, but it's going to be a lot tougher than it should be and will provide plenty of "are the Patriots overrated?" questions for the rumor mill. Result: Win.
vs. San Diego, September 18th. The short week won't be a factor at the Patriots' home opener. New England will come home fired up off their win at Miami, but humbled after leaving some points on the board and playing sloppy defense. The Chargers, for some reason, have been using the "start the season 0-5 to lure the league into a false sense of security before making a last minute scramble to make the playoffs" strategy as of late, so this one should be a fairly convincing win. Glad we're getting San Diego early. Result: Win.
At Buffalo, September 25th. The Bills are eventually going to beat the Patriots, and it's going to be sooner rather than later. This absurd 15 game winning streak against Buffalo can't go on forever, and odds are it's going to be broken on a game like this one, with New England fresh off a win against a quality team and maybe taking the Bills a little too lightly. However, while it may be a game like this one that finally gets the Bills a W against the Pats, it won't be this one. Result: Win
At Oakland, October 2nd. A lot of East Coast teams have trouble playing on the West Coast. Luckily, the Patriots aren't one of them. Oakland has definitely been getting better every year and is no longer a guaranteed win, plus Richard Seymour is going to want to remind Belichick what he gave up by trading him to the Raiders. It is still Oakland, though, and Jason Campbell should be running for his life all day. This game won't be one-sided, but New England just has too many offensive weapons for Oakland to handle. Result: Win
vs. New York Jets, October 9th. The Pats and Jets are most likely going to split the season. The smart bet is to take the Pats at home and the Jets when the Pats go on the road. However, we've already established that I'm not all that smart, so I'm taking a fired up Jets squad to end New England's consecutive regular season home winning streak at 29. This one is gonna sting like a slap to the face after copping a cheap feel at a crowded bar, because revenge will be on The Patriots' minds and the media buildup for this game will be huge. The Pats will likely be favored for this game as well, as most will say that there is NO WAY that Belichick won't have his team ready impose their will on Sexy Rexy's band of baby-daddies and degenerates. But I think the Jets pull off a shocker that starts the talks about a changing of the guard in the AFC East. Result: Loss.
vs. Dallas, October 16th. Those poor, poor Cowboys. Not only are they consistently and undeservedly overhyped as Superbowl contenders each and every year, but here they are coming to face what is guaranteed to be a very pissed off New England team as the weather starts to turn cold and the Cowboys begin their annual downward spiral. Pats take this one in a blowout. Result: Win.
At Pittsburg, October 30th. I know that Pats vs. Steelers is considered a rivalry, but I really don't know why. Brady is 5-1 against the Steelers, and Heinz Field is quickly becoming one of Tommy B's favorite stompin' grounds. The Patriots don't lose games coming off a bye week, and New England always seems to be equipped to manhandle the Pittsburg. This will be a fun one to watch, as it will knock the Steelers off their high horse and flush any feelings of superiority they may have right down the toilet. Luckily for Pittsburg, Ben Roethlisberger knows his way around a bathroom. Result: Win.
vs. New York Giants, November 6th. Bet big on this game as soon as you are able; Patriots beating the Giants is my mortal lock of the season. New England, at home, against a team that has had a tumultuous offseason and is responsible for ruining what would have gone down as the greatest season in the history of the National Football League. I think about Asante Samuel dropping that pick every damn day, and I'm hoping this game will make living with the loss that much more bearable. Plus, the way things stand right now, the G-Men just don't have the personnel to compete with this team. Result: Win.
At New York Jets, November 13th. Here's where New England will play the game they should have played back in week 4. Jets will be favorites to win this game based on their first meeting, and the Pats will roll. The defense should be firing on all cylinders at this point and the Patriots will be getting ready to play their best football as the playoffs approach. Pats smack the Jets back down to earth and remind everyone who still runs the AFC East. Result: Win.
vs. Kansas City, November 21st. The Patriots don't lose often in prime time, especially at home. The Patriots West are a team on the rise, and Matt Cassel is sure to receive a warm welcome back in Foxboro, but the Chiefs aren't quite on the Patriots' level yet. Kansas City will still be in it late, but Cassel is no Brady, and Tommy B knows how to close out games. Result: Win.
At Philadelphia, November 27th. Eagles will pull this one out in a squeaker. I would have given it to New England if they were the home team, Lincoln Financial is an exceptionally tough place to play and the Eagles will be amped for this one. I won't be too upset over this loss, as it's an NFC opponent and Bill Belichick doesn't lose to the same team twice in one season - which bodes very well for the Patriots should they meet the Eagles again in, say, February. Result: Loss
vs. Indianapolis, December 4th. The only real guarantee I can make for this matchup is that we are all going to have to suffer through yet another never-ending, pointless Brady vs. Manning debate for the entire week before the game. Colts/Pats is always fun to watch, but there's no way I'm ever taking Indy in this one, especially outdoors in cold weather at Foxboro. There's always a very special feeling that accompanies watching Peyton Manning throw up his arms and squint his eyes in frustration, and a seeing a good ol' fashioned Manning Face should start my Christmas season off on the right foot. Result: Win
At Washington, December 11th. Two words: Albert Haynesworth. Result: Win
At Denver, December 18th. Superman has Kryptoniyte. Ahab has Moby Dick. Boyfriends and husbands worldwide have Edward Cullen. And Tom Brady has the Broncos. Tommy B just can't win games in Denver, having earned just 1 victory in 6 career outings. Denver is the only NFL team that Brady doesn't have a winning record against and I don't think that this is the year the trend starts to reverse. As I've said before, the Patriots seem to simply forget to show up about twice a year, and this will be the Ying to go with the Detroit game's Yang. The cold and the altitude are going to get to New England, they are just going to play like crap, and bookies everywhere will rejoice as Kyle Orton puts a hurting on this supposedly stellar defense. Result: Loss.
vs. Miami, December 24th. Christmas will come a little early for Patriots Nation this year, as they will beat Miami to lock up the AFC East and hopefully a first round bye. Miami isn't a cold weather team, and by this point in the season they will likely just be playing spoiler. I can't see New England losing at home to Miami with the playoffs on the line. Result: Win
vs. Buffalo, January 1st. The result of this game will depend entirely on how meaningful it is. The majority of the Bills players will be bringing their golf bags with them to Foxboro, while New England will be thinking about resting some of their starters. Hopefully the Pats have everything wrapped up at this point and this matchup will be a relative non-event. But I'm going to give the Patriots the win anyway. Result: Win.
Final 2011 Regular Season Record: 13-3, 1st Place in the AFC.
I don't want any of you to feel sorry for me when half of these predictions blow up in my face. I'm used being wrong and I'm immune to ridicule. Plus, we all know that the NFL is as unpredictable as it gets, so I don't blame you if you don't put any weight in my arguments here. But I haven't let my idiocy stop me from living my life up to this point, and I'm not about to let it stop me now. I'm going to stand by my predictions until the bitter end (which will probably come around Week 5 when the Patriots absolutely ruin both the Jets and my credibility in fell swoop).
The good news is that we won't have to wait long to see just how right - or wrong - I am. We are just days away from the start of the 2011 NFL season and one short week away from Patriots vs. Dolphins. And
when if I do turn out to be way off, it won't be all that hard to make me feel better about this latest in what had been a lifetime of embarrassing failures.
Just show me something shiny and I'll be just fine.