Whadaya know?? Another regular season comes to a close and the Patriots and TB12 are the 1 seed with a first round bye. I’d like to say it was smooth sailing and that I never once had a premature meltdown, but that would be a lie and that wouldn’t be a season under Tom and Bill.
Things weren’t always pretty through these last 17 weeks, and we sure as hell aren’t coasting along with our hair flowing in the breeze headed into the yoffs, so this bye week is HUGE.
There are so many Pats who can use this week off to get healthy, get their rhythm going, and prepare for the ACTUAL Patriots season. Everything prior to this was a charade to appease the 31 other teams. Shame on you all for making Tom and company risk injury simply to make you think you had a fair chance. It’s despicable.
Now we head into the bye week, and while many of you think I would be sitting back and resting on my laurels, the reality is that I’m posted firmly on the wall licking my chops for what this week has to offer.
NUMBER 1. I need the Titans to win. I don’t mean to sounds like a coward, but get the Chiefs the fuck away from me. Respectfully of course. If the Chiefs win, and we end up matching up against them, I know that we’ll take care of business. You cannot beat the Patriots twice in one season, especially with Andy Reid and Alex Smith at the helm. Alex Smith went for over 300 yards for just the 7th time in his god forsaken life in week 1. That was a miracle game, and it won’t happen again.
That said, I just don’t want to deal with it. Kareem Hunt is solid, Travis Kelce is good, the defense is strong, and for some reason it’s always a headache when we play this team. 2 years ago we beat them in the divisional round, but let’s not forget that we were one tipped pass/should have been picked off ball and a miracle Jules catch from that game getting VERY ugly. I’m not asking for much. The Chiefs suck and the Titans suck. Just give me a classic AFC Wild Card slop trough game with about 5 picks between the 2 QBs and 17 points combined that ends up with the Titans on top.
NUMBER 2. Keep. Cam Newton. Away from me.
On paper, I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a non Patriots football game in years. The Saints and Panthers are firing on all cylinders and this bout is shaping up to be a heavy weight battle. That said, I’m gonna neeeeeeeed Cam Newton to be put in the ground.
The Panthers are a team that I can’t quite figure out. They stink right?? I think I’m right, but I guess I’m wrong? I still don’t know. Everyone lost their minds in 2015 when they went 15-1. I stood on a soap box telling people that they would get smashed in the bowl, and the world would know their true colors the following season. At that moment, it seemed like I was right, because in 2016 they went 6-10 like bums. Now however, they’re 11-5 and they scare the shit out of me.
In the Brady-Newton head-to-head, Scam comes out 2-0 with passer ratings of 125.4 and 130.8. He has completion percentages of 67.8% and 75.8%. He has a combined 6 tuddies and 1 pick, and 106 yards rushing with 1 tuddy….
Despite those terrifying numbers, what scares me most is Cam’s ability to scramble. That’s why he beats us, because he stays alive on 3rd down. In the two match ups, the Panthers are 14-20 on third down. The sole reason of this is Cam’s ability to avoid the rush and keep plays alive. I blogged weeks ago about how our pass rush treats opposing QBs like matadors with a red towel. I think it might kill me to watch a nail biting super bowl and see our DEs fly by a scrambling Cam like Maverick and Goose only to watch him convert a 3rd and 17. I do NOT want to see Scam in the bowl, so this weekend I’m rolling with the Bayou.
NUMBER 3. I have talked about this before, and I will talk about it again and again until it becomes a reality. I need Tom Brady and Malcolm Mitchell to spend every waking moment together until our game next Saturday. For the next 9 days I legit want Tom and Money Mitch to be like this.
If Tom goes to the local Whole Foods to get avocados and chia seeds, I want Money running routes between aisles as Tom throws them to him so he can put them in the cart.
The red area offense is a genuine concern for me headed into the playoffs. Gronk is the only option alive, and as we’ve seen too many times, when he gets doubled we often settle for FGs. That won’t win games in the playoffs. Gronk has been a true god send this year. The fact that he’s stayed healthy and efficient all season is the most shocking thing I could have ever imagined outside of Marvin Lewis getting a new contract from the Bengals. We can’t take that for granted though, and he needs help. That help comes in the form of Malcolm Mitchell.
Chris Hogan appears to be dead, Danny will have one HERO game in the yoffs like he always does, and I’ll ask Deion Branch to come out of retirement before I rely on Kenny Britt or Flip Dorsett to make a huge catch in a post season game. The fact that it’s taken this long for Money to make it back in the lineup is astounding to me. But now that he’s actually at practice I need it. He can move the chains, he can get open when it matters most, and he’s a target in the end zone. Those are three critical things that this offense is in desperate need of. Tom and Malcolm have over a week from this point forward to get in sync, and I need them at peak 90’s boyband status.