When I do my annual assessment of the Pats season when the schedule is released over the summer the same thought comes to mind every year. I don't see a loss. Every year looks like cruise control to 19-0. Inevitably, we always drop one or two, which is mind blowing to me because we are that much better than everyone else and have been for the last 18 years. Football is a tough sport though, and sometimes that weird oblong piece of pig skin bounces in funny ways.
Even with my undefeated prediction, I can tell that some wins will be easier than others. It doesn't even have to make sense. Miami on the road? A win, but not pretty. At the Jets coming off a bye? Give me a break. When I was looking at the schedule this year, a few tough ones stood out. Packers on a short week. Hosting the Vikings. Hosting the Chiefs. Always tough playing at Pitt even though we own a nice three bedroom condo in the center of Heinz Field. And then of course there were a few walk in the park wins, and one of those was October 21st @ Bears.
Once the season actually started this game started to look at lot worse. The Pats snuck by the Texans who STIIIINK, we were beat handily by the Jags who STIIIIIIIIIINK, and then we were humiliated by the Lions on prime time, who, say it with me....STINK. We were lucky to be 1-2 and the Patriots haters from all over the world were screaming from their rooftops that the end was nigh. Meanwhile, the Bears went toe to toe with the Packers and should have won in week 1, and followed that up by sacking Seattle to death, beating the Cardinals on the road, and dummying Tampa. Rut Roh.
But things change fast in the NFL. And the Pats have put up 38, 38, and 43 in their last three games, and the Bears are fresh off an absolute stinker of an OT loss at Miami, who we previous kicked the shit out of. It was just one game, but maybe the 5-11 Bears of last year are starting to show their ugly mug again. The Pats offense is clearly rounding into form, and I don't care whether its on the road or at The Razor, this is not going to be an easy unit to slow down.
Khalil Mack was the big storyline for the Bears. Jon Gruden, whom I actually love, traded away the super star linebacker for two first rounds picks in the hopes that the can one day draft someone as good as Khalil Mack. Did you guys catch that 'whom' up there btw? Holy shit I'm intelligent. Anyway, Mack has been a force to be reckoned with, and Gruden's Raiders are a Cleveland Browns away from being 0 and a Billion.
I thought the Pats were going to dodge a major bullet and miss Mack on Sunday. He left the game against the Fins with an injury last week, but still played 62 snaps. He was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday, I've yet to hear about today, but considering the fact that he's never missed a game in his NFL career I highly doubt he wont be in uniform. Marcus Cannon appears to be DEAD with a concussion, so the idea of La-TrafficCone Waddle trying to block Khalil Mack isn't helping my REM cycles. It's like that old expression. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an extremely moveable object? Not many third down conversions I'm guessing.
Allen Robinson is the other big signing by the Bears this offseason. He started off hot for the first two weeks, and while his catches have gone down since, he has scored a tuddy in the last two games. He was limited in practice on Wednesday and OUT on Thursday. Usually those mid week downgrades mean we wont see him on the field come kick off. That would be good news because Trubisky is coming off two 300 yard games, Taylor Gabriel looks legit, and the fates above know we will have our hands full trying to slow down Tarik Cohen on the check downs.
This is the start of a tough stretch of travel for us. Three of the next four games on the road before the bye, with the only home game being SNF against the Packers. Not exactly a picnic. And after the break we go on the road for three of the next four again, with the only home game being an afternoon tilt against the Vikings which could get flexed into SNF. As I've always said, you can't have an undefeated road trip unless you win the first game.
Prediction: Tits Trubisky throws two picks. He's thrown 4 on the year (less than Tom, KILL ME) and has only gone 2 of his 5 games without throwing at least one. The Pats secondary grabbed two huge picks last week, and I think they stay hot this week. We saw all those stats of young quarterbacks going up against a Bill Belichick defense. Well Tits is only 24 and he's a hell of a lot worse than Pattie Homie. I'll take one in each half if you're open to it big guy.
Prediction: Flash Gordon finds the end zone again. With they way Tommy was force feeding him the ball last week, coupled with the sky rocketing of Flash's snap count, there's just no way this doesn't hit. I hope its a long bomb, but either way he's such a red zone target he will get plenty of opportunities if teams are going to keep focusing on Gronk they way they are.
Prediction: Sony Michele keeps chugging. NOTHING STOPS THIS TRAIN. Listen, the Bears D has been awesome. But last week they let the ghost of Frank Gore rush for 101 yards against them. There will come a time when Sony slows down, mixes in a bad outing or two, or maybe the game just dictates more passing. But right now, Josh Micky D is loving the balance in the offense. Jimmy Neckroll is loving pancaking linebackers and creating holes. And Sony is loving running that rock. He doesn't have to score, but I would say he needs 90+ for me to be right. Prediction: Yawn. Don't love that its on the road where we've been crushed twice this year. Wish Mack wasn't playing but glad he's hobbled. Tits is too young. Tom is too good. We have too many weapons. The Bears can play but they can't hang with the older kids yet. Pats 34 Bears 20