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How the Patriots Will Lose This Week

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We know it's inevitable, but how will it happen.

Leon Halip

The Patriots are going to be winning 28-26, with the ball, with under two minutes to go in the game. The Ravens otherworldly kicker Justin Tucker can't save them now. However, the Patriots aren't going to win.

The official for the game is Ron Winter and he's fairly normal. He's been averaging fewer flags than the rest of the league (one flag per game, to be precise), even if he's historically more whistle-happy than your common ump. This isn't going to be his fault. But he's going to the cost the Patriots the game.

Because the Patriots and Ryan Allen are going to be forced to punt the ball with almost no time left on the clock. Marquice Cole is going to be one of the gunners and he's going to be forced out of bounds by a Raven defender. Allen's punt is going to be a sight of perfection, landing and dying in the sopping grass right in front of the goal line. To keep this realistic, let's say it's on the two yard line. Cole will be the first to the ball and be a hero for ten seconds. Game over.

Then there will be a delayed flag. Yellow. On the field. Hold on.

Winter is going to see Cole out of bounds and be the first one to touch the ball. He might not have seen the Raven defender force him out, but he knows that Cole was running in the white. "Illegal Touching," He'll declare. "On the kicking team. Five yard penalty, Ravens ball."

But then wily John Harbaugh is a former special teams coordinator of the Eagles for a decade and he'll know the rules.

"No," he'll state as he marches onto the field in the rain. "I'll take the touchback."

The announcers will be stunned and people will flock to their rule books:

Rule 9. Section 2. Article 3. "For illegal touching of a scrimmage kick: Loss of five yards. If the illegal touching is inside the receiver's five-yard line, in addition to the other specified options, the receiving team may elect to take a touchback."

"By the hammer of Thor...," Bill Belichick will decry. "He was forced out! This shouldn't happen!" Tom Brady will weep and gnash his teeth. "%&(@!!!" He will shout at the referees. "&#@%," Ryan Mallett will say in agreement.

But it's too late. Ravens ball on the 20 yard line. Justin Tucker will line up to take the kick, but we all know the outcome. Through the cutting wind and the beating rain, Tucker will smile, line up the chip shot of 97 yards, and send it through the uprights.

29-28. Ravens win. And it was inevitable the entire time.