Three games into the season, and the New England Patriots are 1-2. This is a bit odd. But when looking at last year, this seems about right, although we were 2-1 at this stage.
Last season, we lost three games. To the Buffalo Bills in week three, the Pittsburgh Steelers in week eight, and finally the New York Giants in week nine. When we look at the two losses so far, we can draw comparisons already.
The Arizona Cardinals are 3-0. Who would have thought that? The same question was being asked last year, about the Bills, who fell away that season. This year, we have a loss against a team who no-one expected to do well who has had a hot start. Just like last year. Last Sunday, we lost to the Baltimore Ravens. Perennial Super Bowl contenders, key AFC rival. Just like those pesky Steelers.
No-one seemed to panic too much last year after the two game loss streak. Because we already had 5 wins on the board, and ahead of the game in the AFC East. The next four games will be the time to decide how good we are this year: @ Buffalo, vs Denver, @ Seattle, vs Teb - (oh wait, Mark Sanchez is doing OK?) the Jets.
This could be a key stretch. If we can overcome these tough opponents, and come out at least 3-1, we'll be 4-3 going into the International Series game against the St. Louis Rams (which will basically be a home game). Which should mean we'll be 5-3 into the bye.
Consider this: We came out of our bye 5-1 last year, then lost to the Steelers and Giants. 5-3 at Week 9 in 2011, 5-3 at Week 9 in 2012. Don't panic yet, Pats Nation, give them some time.
(I do realize this is based on a lot of guess work, but I think it's pretty realistic.)
Random NFL Notes:
- Mr. Goodell - get our Ref's back! Two Primetime games ruined by the replacements. Get your head out of the sand and pay up! The NFL fines office will be pretty busy trawling through twitter feeds this week....
- Darrelle Revis is out for the year. As much as you don't like to see the best players not playing, this is pretty good news for us Pats. Our main rivals are significantly weaker.
- Are those Falcons the real deal? Be careful, they always shine in the regular season, only to falter in the Play-offs. Be more worried about the Texans....