Pats Preview: Week 13

1195486247Some 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.

Thanksgiving mercifully saved me from having to breakdown last week’s Pats-Eagles game. Between us, I just didn’t have it in me to write a preview about New England beating the crap out of my hometown Birds. Plus, had I written that, I would have been wrong.

In case you missed it, the once invulnerable New England Patriots, the guys everyone figured would throttle each of their opponents on their way to an undefeated season, barely squeaked out a win at home against Philadelphia last Sunday Night. In fact, the Pats were, arguably, one fewer AJ Feeley interception away from losing that game.

Suddenly, the Pats don’t look quite as unbeatable as they once did.

A lot of people, including Bill Parcells — miss him? — think the Eagles established a blueprint in how to eventually thwart the Pats. The Herald’s John Tomase agrees with the former Pats head coach on that front. And what does the plan entail? Mainly stopping Randy Moss.

Seriously, why didn’t anyone else think of that?

Anyway, here’s what Tomase had to say about it:

[The Eagles held] previously unstoppable wide receiver Randy Moss to five catches for 43 yards… Philadelphia attacked Moss, who not only had his least productive game with the Patriots, but did so in a way that didn’t leave Philly vulnerable downfield on the opposite sideline.

OK, so teams everywhere are probably wondering how, exactly, the Birds pulled off that magnificent feat. For the answer, scribes turned to Mr. Candor — Pats head coach Bill Belichick.

“They play how they play,” he said. “They play how they play, so that’s how they play. I think if you watch the Eagles play all of the teams they play, that’s the way they play in the secondary.”

Well put.

So the lot of you might be worried that other teams will start “playing how the Eagles play.” But I’m here to tell you — as much fun as it is to see Pats fans squirm — that this is much ado about nothing. Every team hiccups. What separates the great teams from the merely good, though, is finding a way to win even when you aren’t at your best. And New England did just that. Besides, even if the Pats lose a game in the regular season (or even two — gasp), they’re still set-up for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

More to the point: Everything is fine. So relax already.

The Pick: Pats fans everywhere breathe deep. New England 38, Baltimore 10.