Demarcus Ware: "Patriots will be one-and-done in the playoffs"

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Former Cowboys and Broncos linebacker Demarcus Ware issued a fiery take this week when asked about the Patriots' chances in the playoffs. Per PatsPulpit:

“It’s funny that I feel like the Patriots will be one-and-done in the playoffs,” Ware said on NFL Network’s show Players Only. “And the reason why I say that is because they have not played teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars. They still got to play the Pittsburgh Steelers again. They got to play teams that can really bring pressure and when those pressure situations come on [Tom] Brady, you know what’s going to happen: he folds. He did the same in the [2015] AFC Championship against the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins and so [...] one-and-done. [Brady’s] going to fold [under pressure].”

While Ware's "analysis" is easy fodder for Patriots haters, there's not a lot of substance to it at all. Sure, constantly pressuring Tom Brady is a good way to get him off his game. There's no quarterback in the history of the NFL who has played better when constantly under pressure. Furthermore, the games Ware mentions as "examples" of the Patriots' flaws are both extreme outliers. In the first, Brady was playing behind a patched-up offensive line and was without key receiving weapons. Against Miami, he was once again without Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman (and was playing with a severely injured Chris Hogan). Using those two performances as evidence to support the theory that Tom Brady caves under pressure is ludicrous.

And as Rich Hill smartly pointed out, there's almost no chance the Patriots could face either the Jaguars or the Steelers in the first round. Pittsburgh is completely out of the question, since the Steelers have clinched a first-round bye, while the Pats would have to lose to the Jets on Sunday and Jacksonville would have to win a wild-card game before the Jags could come to Foxborough. And even then, they're still quarterbacked by Blake Bortles.

This Patriots team is banged up with injuries and isn't invincible heading into the postseason. But despite haters like Ware, one fact remains abundantly clear: Unless something drastic changes, the Pats are the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl once again.

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