If the Patriots and Colts taught us anything yesterday, it’s that they are so far ahead of the rest of the NFL, that they threaten to render the other 30 teams meaningless. The Packers? Cute story, but their quarterback remains the only player in the league capable of keeping both teams in the game. The Cowboys? Nice stars on their helmets, but they had their shot against the Patriots and got worked.
New England and Indy didn’t play a game that will be preserved in the NFL Films vault, but the Patriots proved that not only can they beat the Colts in the Dome, they can also win when they don’t play their best. Despite racking up a franchise record in penalties (including a pair of dubious pass-interference calls), the Pats had just enough, and just enough Randy Moss, to pull it out.
What it means for the Pats, plus Boston College’s big loss and the Celtics’ big win, after the jump.
The Patriots accomplished two things. One, they control their path to the playoffs for the rest of the season since they have, essentially, a two-game lead over the Colts for home-field advantage, thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker. A home game in New England against Indy in January is a huge advantage for the Pats.
Two, they have opened the door to a perfect season. The coach won’t want to talk about it, and you can be sure the players won’t talk about it, but after this week’s well-timed bye, the Patriots are at Buffalo, home against Philly, at Baltimore, home against Pittsburgh, the Jets, and Miami, and at the Giants.
(Gamblers take note: The spread can not be high enough for either the Eagles or the Jets games. New York you know about, but the Eagles talked a lot of stuff after the spygate scandal broke relating to their Super Bowl loss. Just sayin’).
The three road games could be tricky, and the home game against Pittsburgh should also be a test, but the Pats will be favored in all seven, and they may be just motivated and angry enough to pull it off.
Two games into a season, it is hard to quantify what yesterday’s win at Toronto means, but here’s a stab: It means they are legitimate. Paul Pierce couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean, the entire team was in foul trouble, they were a little disjointed without coach Doc Rivers, and they still won. (At least we think they did. We heard Mike Gorman call Ray Allen’s 3-pointer, but the TV feed was cut at exactly the wrong time).
Allen was unconscious, Kevin Garnett was huge in overtime, and James Posey really could be an X-factor kind of player off the bench. Again, it’s really early, but that was a very nice win for the C’s. Now, could Comcast get around to putting all their games in HD? That would be great.
With all the wild success the region is enjoying, it was almost a shock that BC lost to an only-decent Florida State team at home on Saturday, but it shouldn’t have been. Fast teams, like FSU, have given BC trouble for years, and the Eagles have not played well since beating Georgia Tech way back in September.
But all is not lost for Boston College. No, the Eagles won’t get a chance to play for the national championship, and Matt Ryan’s Heisman chances are in a major freefall, but they still have a very good chance to wind up in a New Year’s Day bowl game and can still win the ACC and play in the Orange Bowl.
This is the point of the season where BC has come up short in recent years, so it will be interesting to see if Saturday’s loss was a blip or the start of a major slide.
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2007/11/05/weekend-sports-wrap/
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