Pats Preview: Week 2

1189521426Some NFL analysts study trends. Others study stats. Our man, Gonz, does neither. But that won’t stop him from breaking down each week’s Patriots’ game. His picks are for amusement purposes only, since last year he dropped a small fortune to the world’s worst bookie.

Week 2 is nearly upon us, and good news, the Pats are undefeated. They thumped the Jets 38-14 in the season opener. Bill Belichick’s boys gave them such a beating that it was almost like they knew exactly what New York was going to do.

Oh. Right. Which brings us to the bad news: they did know exactly what New York was going to do. After the jump, the latest fallout from New England’s Spy Games and what it might mean for this weekend’s Sunday night clash with San Diego.

The hammer dropped last night and the penalty is severe. Belichick is out 500Gs (500Gs!), the maximum fine allowed by league rules. Meanwhile, the Patriots organization was docked an additional 250Gs. But that’s not the worst of it. The Pats also had draft picks taken away. If they make the playoffs, they’ll lose a first-round selection. If they don’t make the playoffs, they’ll lose a second- and third-round pick. Honestly, I’m not sure which scenario is worse.

“This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid long-standing rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to the Patriots.

Goodell said he had considered suspending Belichick but didn’t “largely because I believe that the discipline I am imposing of a maximum fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft choice, or multiple draft choices, is in fact more significant and long-lasting, and therefore more effective, than a suspension.”

Wow. Kind of makes it hard for the apologists out there (like these guys and these guys) to defend Belichick, doesn’t it? (Somewhere, Ron Borges is smiling.)

Meanwhile, Belichick — who, on his weekly WEEI radio appearance shortly after the scandal broke, dubiously claimed he “didn’t really know the details” of the sloppy signal-stealing debacle (as though there’s anything that happens on that team without his knowledge) — changed his tune earlier in the week.

I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players.

So very interesting that Belichick would bother to apologize for something he previously swore to know nothing about. As I mentioned in a previous post, and our friends over at Deadspin have noted as well, this whole thing looks more and more like a bad sports send-up of Watergate with each passing day. (Incidentally, does that make Pats PR flak Stacey James our very own Ron Ziegler?)

Now, what does all this mean for Sunday’s battle with San Diego? Well, it’s not good, that’s for sure. For starters, the Pats spent all week talking about their brazen, astonishing, the-rules-don’t-apply-to-us theft, which prohibits you from doing what you need to do — like game planning for every defensive coordinator’s nightmare, LaDanian Tomlinson. Not to mention: How good will Belichick and his guys be without their, uh…what’s a good euphemism for cheat sheets?

The Pick: This is about as low as a team can sink. San Diego 28, New England 21.