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NFC/AFC Championship Weekend (and NFL Awards too)!

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I hope that Seattle gets absolutely destroyed. Carroll is as big a snake as they come. He presides over one of the most corrupt college football programs outside of a Barry Switzer team, and bails when the heat gets to be too much. And somehow he's praised as this saint. fvck him.

Peyton, I want you to tear this clown's team a new a$$hole. And I think he will. Petey boy, you won't have that home field advantage to rescue your lying ass this time around. Too bad Peyton is a better QB than Matt Schaub.

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Edited by Daniel

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The Patriots offensive line needs a new Center-Right Guard combo as neither Wendell nor Callahan could pass block worth a damn. Gronk comes back; add a new WR to the improving Dobson and the offense can seriously improve. Its another loss in the AFC Championship, but the context is different.

..if there's any team that makes you scratch your head more than New England.. please let me know. They are an astonishing 100-28 over their last 8 seasons throughout the regular-season, since 2006. Yet.. since that “Giant Loss” that concluded the 2007 season, they've won 4 games of their last 10 in the playoffs. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but for the past 10 years, something happens to them the moment they make it to January, and they start playing fragile. You can read the lack of confidence in their body language, the moment they're down in a ball game, or facing any kind of adversity.

I respect Brady, and obviously acknowledge his HOF career. But an 8-8 record, and a 29 TD to 20 INT ratio over his last 16 playoff games? They're very pedestrian numbers for one of the all-time greats. --sorry.

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I liked Sherman before this game. I love him now. Go Seahawks!

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..if there's any team that makes you scratch your head more than New England.. please let me know. They are an astonishing 100-28 over their last 8 seasons throughout the regular-season, since 2006. Yet.. since that “Giant Loss” that concluded the 2007 season, they've won 4 games of their last 10 in the playoffs. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but for the past 10 years, something happens to them the moment they make it to January, and they start playing fragile. You can read the lack of confidence in their body language, the moment they're down in a ball game, or facing any kind of adversity.

I respect Brady, and obviously acknowledge his HOF career. But an 8-8 record, and a 29 TD to 20 INT ratio over his last 16 playoff games? They're very pedestrian numbers for one of the all-time greats. --sorry.

 

In fairness, you can't really lump this latest playoff loss in with some of the others.  Denver was the favorite playing at home.  They were simply the better team.  This 2013 Patriot team really wasn't great on either side of the ball, especially once the injuries started piling up.  And what we really learned this year is the Patriot MVP is now Rob Gronkowski...the Patriots are clearly a much different and far better team with him on the field...they have to find a way to keep this guy healthy. 

 

But your observations about them getting punched and not getting back up or seeming to have any fight in some other games are accurate, and I've pointed them out myself.  The three games that stand out the most in that regard (to me) are the two playoff losses against Baltimore, and the loss against the Jets (all at home).  Patriots were favored and simply faced three teams who seemed to want it a hell of a lot more.  They clearly came up short in some other playoff games, but I never felt like they weren't at least battling in those matchups.     

 

Brady's TD to INT is actually 29-to-19 in his last 16 playoff games (minor point, but accurate).  He's had his share of follies in the playoffs in recent years (as has BB and his D, and the "bend-but-don't-break" philosophy really has to go...that D breaks too often in the playoffs, even if they somehow find a way to get by in the regular season), but Brady has still gotten to 2 more Super Bowls after winning three, and left the field with his team leading.  His Ds didn't make the stops when needed.  8-8 isn't awesome, but 18-8 is, and for all of the recent playoff disappointments, in 11 postseasons, the Pats have won at least one playoff game 9 times.  Compare that to Peyton's EIGHT one-and-dones.  Montana had four of them, to go with his 16-7 record.  He had three straight from 1985-87, in which he not only didn't throw for a single TD, but also got picked off four times, and put up lousy numbers.  Not knocking Montana, more pointing out that even the greats aren't perfect in these playoff games, and are probably graded on too high a curve once they reach a certain status.   

 

Fact is, a lot of teams would kill for an 8-8 playoff record (or just to play in 16 playoff games in a similar time period), five AFC Championship games, and two Super Bowls since 2005...not to mention making the playoffs almost every year.  I'm not going to say there haven't been some serious disappointments along the way, and there's blame to go around for them, and Brady and BB definitely aren't blame-proof. 

 

They have 2-3 more years to get to another Super Bowl...the chapters have been darker lately, but the book still hasn't been written entirely.  I think they can still put together another run. 

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976

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Denver was simply healthier than New England and that translated into being a better team.

 

BB got blood from a stone this season with the injuries and transition.  Defense gets all of their injured pieces back and its back to the Top-10 status that carried the Pats through the first 6 games.  The Patriots offensive line needs a new Center-Right Guard combo as neither Wendell nor Callahan could pass block worth a damn (nor run block against heavy DL's).  Gronk comes back; add a new WR to the improving Dobson and the offense can seriously improve.  Its another loss in the AFC Champion but the context is different.

 

Pats schedule next season: Division, @Indy, @Min, @GB, @SD, @KC,  Den, Chi, Det, Oak, Cin,

 

Agree, context is different, this one shouldn't be seen as a major failure by NE (and there ARE losses they've had that deserve that label).  I pointed out in the post above that there's been some serious fvckups in recent years, but I can't put this loss on that list.  The only way the Pats were going to win this one was to execute flawlessly (and once Brady didn't hit Edelman on that deep ball, I had the feeling they were going be screwed), and hope for mistakes by Denver.  Neither happened. 

 

I think NE probably finds its way back to the AFC Championship game AGAIN next season, but what they do when they get there is completely up in the air.  There's some things that need changing.  Like I've said, they've got to take a good look at defenses like Seattle, San Francisco and select others, and realize that it is possible to have a solid defense without giving up massive chunks of yards to seemingly everyone, and to not have to rely on turnovers, tightening up in the red zone, or hoping that the other team makes key mistakes. 

 

I don't expect Amendola is going anywhere, but he is not the second coming of Wes Welker, and he shouldn't be seen as his direct replacement...he's simply not nearly as good. 

 

I'm hoping the Pats are very aggressive this offseason...they should really be in full-on go-for-it mode this coming season and next.  The Brady era is going to end soon.

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In fairness, you can't really lump this latest playoff loss in with some of the others.  Denver was the favorite playing at home.  They were simply the better team.  This 2013 Patriot team really wasn't great on either side of the ball, especially once the injuries started piling up.  And what we really learned this year is the Patriot MVP is now Rob Gronkowski...the Patriots are clearly a much different and far better team with him on the field...they have to find a way to keep this guy healthy. 

But your observations about them getting punched and not getting back up or seeming to have any fight in some other games are accurate, and I've pointed them out myself.  The three games that stand out the most in that regard (to me) are the two playoff losses against Baltimore, and the loss against the Jets (all at home).  Patriots were favored and simply faced three teams who seemed to want it a hell of a lot more.  They clearly came up short in some other playoff games, but I never felt like they weren't at least battling in those matchups.     

They have 2-3 more years to get to another Super Bowl...the chapters have been darker lately, but the book still hasn't been written entirely.  I think they can still put together another run. 

 

Your points on the Pats playoff machups over the years are fair. I agree that Gronk is NE's MVP, and as much as I dislike Belichick, he had one of his better seasons as a head coach.

I'd go as far as to say the window for the Patriots is 5 years! With Brady turning 37, you'd have to figure he'll play into his 40's. But anything past 43, I really can't take seriously.

 

5 more years for Jets fans.. then BB & TB ride off into the sunset. :yea:

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Your points on the Pats playoff machups over the years are fair. I agree that Gronk is NE's MVP, and as much as I dislike Belichick, he had one of his better seasons as a head coach.

I'd go as far as to say the window for the Patriots is 5 years! With Brady turning 37, you'd have to figure he'll play into his 40's. But anything past 43, I really can't take seriously.

 

5 more years for Jets fans.. then BB & TB ride off into the sunset. :yea:

 

I'm going conservative on the window, just because you just never know with older players.  You don't see 40-year-old QBs leading their teams to Super Bowls.  QBs are better protected now, meaning that it wouldn't be a surprise to see a 40-year-old who doesn't have too much wear-and-tear pull it off in the future.  I'm just not planning on it being Brady.  That's why I think it's even more crucial for BB to build a truly dominant defense (not one that has some success in spite of itself) as quickly as possible.  Brady has been able to overcome a lot of shaky Ds in recent seasons (mostly in the regular season), but I don't know how much longer that can go on.  The missed receivers downfield in the AFC Championship game should raise a red flag.

Edited by Colorado Rockies 1976

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  Like I've said, they've got to take a good look at defenses like Seattle, San Francisco and select others, and realize that it is possible to have a solid defense without giving up massive chunks of yards to seemingly everyone, and to not have to rely on turnovers, tightening up in the red zone, or hoping that the other team makes key mistakes. 

 

 

You need the horses to have defenses like that, and corners like Richard Sherman don't grow on trees.  (I would actually venture a guess that defensive backs probably have the biggest bust rate outside of QBs.)

 

I also think that NE's defensive woes have a lot to do with the up-tempo offense.  Not a coincidence that Green Bay and Peyton Manning teams have traditionally had fairly shaky defenses.

 

I guess my philosophy is to keep doubling down on your team's strengths.  So if I were NE, I would look to draft offensive players, especially at TE and receiver.  The Pats would need to get pretty lucky to wind up with defensive players like San Fran and Seattle has when they're constantly drafting at number 28 or worse.  (San Fran's key defensive players were high draft picks).

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You need the horses to have defenses like that, and corners like Richard Sherman don't grow on trees.  (I would actually venture a guess that defensive backs probably have the biggest bust rate outside of QBs.)

 

I also think that NE's defensive woes have a lot to do with the up-tempo offense.  Not a coincidence that Green Bay and Peyton Manning teams have traditionally had fairly shaky defenses.

 

I guess my philosophy is to keep doubling down on your team's strengths.  So if I were NE, I would look to draft offensive players, especially at TE and receiver.  The Pats would need to get pretty lucky to wind up with defensive players like San Fran and Seattle has when they're constantly drafting at number 28 or worse.  (San Fran's key defensive players were high draft picks).

 

Problem with that is, even if the Pats DO do that and go all-in on the O, their high-scoring offenses have shown a penchant for getting shutdown come playoff time (they've been held to 17 points or less in five out of their last 10 playoff games...all losses).  That's why I think they really have to try to address as much as possible on both units...yes, they'll have guys coming back on D next season, but even WITH those guys, the defense has been a problem for years now...they need to start holding better opponents' point totals down in playoff games...sometimes you have to find a way to make 17-20 points stand up.  They did show signs of finally improving before everyone starting getting hurt, so it may just be an issue of getting guys healthy again.  But I think they're crazy if they count on Talib making it though the year. 

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Problem with that is, even if the Pats DO do that and go all-in on the O, their high-scoring offenses have shown a penchant for getting shutdown come playoff time (they've been held to 17 points or less in five out of their last 10 playoff games...all losses).  That's why I think they really have to try to address as much as possible on both units...yes, they'll have guys coming back on D next season, but even WITH those guys, the defense has been a problem for years now...they need to start holding better opponents' point totals down in playoff games...sometimes you have to find a way to make 17-20 points stand up.  They did show signs of finally improving before everyone starting getting hurt, so it may just be an issue of getting guys healthy again.  But I think they're crazy if they count on Talib making it though the year. 

 

As much as people talk about the goal is to win the Super Bowl, when you're building a team, the idea should be to build a team that wins as many games as possible.  Success in a single elimination playoff format comes down to a ton of luck, especially when you get rid of the chaff that seems to be in the playoffs every year like the Bengals. 

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As much as people talk about the goal is to win the Super Bowl, when you're building a team, the idea should be to build a team that wins as many games as possible.  Success in a single elimination playoff format comes down to a ton of luck, especially when you get rid of the chaff that seems to be in the playoffs every year like the Bengals. 

 

There's some truth to this, but the playoff script has been very familiar as of late.  Offense doesn't come close to putting up the same lofty point totals that it does in the regular season (not consistently, anyway).  D doesn't step up, and considering how meh the Patriot D has been, I guess that shouldn't come as any surprise.  When you're facing some low-win teams in the regular season, and are the better team in well over half your games, you're going to impress, and if you've got a QB like Brady who can usually make any group of receivers workable, the wins are going to come, and when you have your share of 30+ points-for games (with 40+s and even 50+s sprinkled in), the D giving up 20-35 in a lot of games gets glossed over. 

 

But something has to give.  BB himself has admitted to getting outcoached in these losses...even admitted it again yesterday.  The defensive gameplan, which seems to be "how do we give up more yards than almost everyone else but somehow keep the points-against totals middle-of-the-pack?", just doesn't work anymore. 

 

I agree, finding stoppers on D is not easy to do, especially in the secondary.  Pats have tried to address it, but as a guy who looked like he was going to be good corner, McCourty is now a pretty good safety who almost always gets burned on the rare occasions he has to go man-to-man.  But I think the Pats have tried the "Outscore everyone" approach long enough.  I could see them putting up 500+ next season, allowing about 350, winning 12-13 games, nabbing a bye week, then getting knocked off either in the divisional game or the AFC Championship again, by something like a 28-14 or 33-17 final, and people saying, "Did this really happen again?"  I agree, luck is often a factor, getting hot is sometimes a factor (though the Pats have a history of looking unbeatable in the second halves of seasons), but sometimes, changes in philosophies don't hurt.  I would love to see a new defensive coordinator working with BB, for that reason...someone with his own ideas who isn't a puppet. 

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But I think the Pats have tried the "Outscore everyone" approach long enough.

 

That approach could very well prove to have worked for Denver. 

 

In any event, I'm not saying there's no room for any team to improve, but really, so long as Brady is around, and especially assuming that Gronk can play or they draft someone like him, the Pats are about as structurally sound as you can get, irrespective of the playoff results.   No matter who they're playing, or where they're playing, they're always going to be at least a pretty good bet to win.  I don't see that really changing anytime soon.  And in fact, if they upgrade their receiving corps a bit, they'll be even stronger.

 

By contrast you look at the last two Super Bowl champions, who both have the kind of team where the bottom can drop out at any time.  We saw it with the Giants, and I would not be shocked if the Ravens are drafting in the top ten in 2015.  There are maybe five teams that so long as the QB is there, they're going to win a lot of games, including in the playoffs -- Niners, Broncos, Pats, Green Bay and maybe the Saints.  If you're in that group, you don't really need to change things fundamentally.

 

I wouldn't even put Seattle in that group.  They're a team that can prove to be very beatable when they're on the road.  (If they had to play NE with Gronkowski in Foxboro, I think Seattle would have lost by at least two touchdowns).  Next year their schedule probably won't be as easy.  Even if Russell Wilson is healthy, it's a team that could conceivably not make the playoff in any given year.  These days, teams that thrive primarily on their defense are very boom or bust.  You saw it with the Ravens when they had some dreadful years even though on average they had the best defensive unit of the decade.  You also saw it with the Steelers and the Jets.  Meanwhile, the teams that can put up a lot of points are always in the playoffs. 

 

Perhaps this is the best way to convey the point.  If my very average Dolphins had a choice of playing the Pats (with Gronkowski or future equivalent) or the Seahawks in a meaningful game for both teams in Miami, I'm choosing the Seahawks every time. 

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Hopefully San Fran gets another rb. Gore looks functionally done really. Couldn't break away at all. The center didn't help either but Gore hasn't been looking the same. He's getting old as well. Talk about kap all people want. He outplayed Wilson and was the only dude that showed up on offense. No one was open all game for him either. Outside of Wilson's 4 and 7 and that throe to Baldwin he looked lost all night. These two qbs have a high ceiling though. I'll praise kap for taking the game on his shoulders and doing everything cause no one else was. Work on his decisions a bit though. They'll all learn. Get a good explosive back at least behind Gore to get some reps.

Hopefully Peyton can smash that secondary but its historically good. Hopefully, so Peyton can retire with another ring!

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Wow I love Sherman even more than I already did cause he punked skip. I felt like I was watching some classic wwf last night ,So entertaining

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That approach could very well prove to have worked for Denver. 

 

In any event, I'm not saying there's no room for any team to improve, but really, so long as Brady is around, and especially assuming that Gronk can play or they draft someone like him, the Pats are about as structurally sound as you can get, irrespective of the playoff results.   No matter who they're playing, or where they're playing, they're always going to be at least a pretty good bet to win.  I don't see that really changing anytime soon.  And in fact, if they upgrade their receiving corps a bit, they'll be even stronger.

 

By contrast you look at the last two Super Bowl champions, who both have the kind of team where the bottom can drop out at any time.  We saw it with the Giants, and I would not be shocked if the Ravens are drafting in the top ten in 2015.  There are maybe five teams that so long as the QB is there, they're going to win a lot of games, including in the playoffs -- Niners, Broncos, Pats, Green Bay and maybe the Saints.  If you're in that group, you don't really need to change things fundamentally.

 

I wouldn't even put Seattle in that group.  They're a team that can prove to be very beatable when they're on the road.  (If they had to play NE with Gronkowski in Foxboro, I think Seattle would have lost by at least two touchdowns).  Next year their schedule probably won't be as easy.  Even if Russell Wilson is healthy, it's a team that could conceivably not make the playoff in any given year.  These days, teams that thrive primarily on their defense are very boom or bust.  You saw it with the Ravens when they had some dreadful years even though on average they had the best defensive unit of the decade.  You also saw it with the Steelers and the Jets.  Meanwhile, the teams that can put up a lot of points are always in the playoffs. 

 

Perhaps this is the best way to convey the point.  If my very average Dolphins had a choice of playing the Pats (with Gronkowski or future equivalent) or the Seahawks in a meaningful game for both teams in Miami, I'm choosing the Seahawks every time. 

 

What's fair to say is that the NFL playoffs have become much more of a crapshoot than they used to be.  In the last 10 Super Bowls (not including this one), three teams have won it twice (Giants, Steelers, and Patriots), four have won it once (Colts, Saints, Packers, and Ravens).  Pats went 4 times (2-2), Steelers 3 times (2-1), Giants twice (2-0), and the Colts twice (1-1).  All of the other teams involved (9 of them) went just once, and many of those didn't really come close to going back.  It really is hard to stay in the hunt for so many years, no matter what you do, or how you choose to build your team...even if you DO have an all-time QB (or at the very least, a Top-5 type).   

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Media Day at The Rock

 

"Super Bowl Live: Media Day" just started on NFL Network @ 10 am this morning.

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