Will this Patriots team win the Super Bowl?

Tom Brady's angry with my answer.

Before you all freak out, let me say that I want the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. I have wanted nothing in my life for so long. Having to sit and watch two losses to the goddamn Giants hurt me and scarred me for life. Seeing the Patriots win a Super Bowl would be better than seeing the birth of my child. And I would have zero problems admitting that to my imaginary child. But its not if I want the Patriots to win, or can this Patriots team win, the question is will this Patriots team win, and right now I have to say no.

At the beginning of the season I had a far different feeling. I thought this was the year, and in all honesty, it looked like the year. What was the difference? Defense.

We had a defense in the first half of the year. We even for a period of time had a top 10 defense, something we haven’t had in a long time. Big baby Vince was eating up space, Mayo, Hightower, and Spikes were running around like men possessed, and Talib had discovered his own island, which was bigger and had more beautiful ladies on it than lame Revis Island.

Remember this? HE HAS SO MUCH SWAG!
Gif via nesn.com
On offense we were running the ball hard. Our offensive line was tough, in your face, aggressive. Ridley was playing well, being physical, breaking off large runs, and most importantly, holding onto the football (he had one fumble in the first half of the season as compared to the three he has so far in the second half). We ran the ball at opponents and then Brady would pick them apart using play action.

Yes the passing didn’t look good, yes we weren’t putting up a lot of points, but we were winning close, tough, physical games and that is what matters. We had become the team that every single announcer will tell you wins Super Bowls: a team that runs the ball and plays defense.

I wrote an article during the Pats bye looking at the past three Super Bowl winners and how the Pats had played up to that point and I drew a lot of comparisons between all those teams. Everything looked good, and I was finally letting myself buy into the belief that I would witness everything I have dreamed of.

But then injuries occurred.

Wilfork went down. Mayo went down. Kelly went down. Our defense that was playing so well got hit hard by injuries and it has taken its toll. A defense that is normally very stout against the run is now the 31st rank defense in the NFL. The passing defense, that was physical, aggressive, opportunistic, has taken a step back.

This Patriots team right now reminds me far too much of every Patriots team I have seen since 2007. Read my Super Bowl article, those teams do not win Super Bowls.

The Patriots have regressed (yea I said it) to the team that they once were. The defense has returned to a bend don’t break approach where they get beat up and down the field, giving up yardage like they were on sale. The offense has returned to a finesse team: quick passes, screens, lacking a strong attacking run game. Instead of the Pats relying on the defense to keep them in games, the Pats are now back to relying on the offense to just outscore the other team.

Has that worked for us? No, it certainly has not. We have an early boot from the playoffs and two Super Bowl losses to prove that fact.

Can the Patriots win a Super Bowl? Of course. In fact I would not be at all surprised if they made it to the Super Bowl this year. They could even win it. But tell me this: do you trust the Patriots to beat the Seahawks when it matters? Can they hang against the 49ers defense? Could this injury riddled defense control Drew Brees like they did in week 6? I have to answer no on most every one (I think the Pats could hang with the Saints).

The Patriots team that beat the Falcons, that beat the Saints, hell I’ll take the one that held the Bucs to three points, that team could and I thought at the time would win the Super Bowl. This team won’t. I’m haunted by all the past teams we’ve seen like this and all the past failures we have endured.

But hey, prove me wrong Patriots. I’ll be the happiest guy on Earth if you do.

Photo credit boston.com

- Pete Rogers
check me out at ftcsports.com