Let's look at how the teams approached the Week of Shame. The Steelers and Bucs flat-out rested their starters. The Pack started Favre, but eventually realized they were playing the Lions so it didn't matter and dropped all the way down to third string. The Jags rested their first, second, and third stings and recruited players from a homeless shelter. Seattle started with their A-team then put the scrubs in and gave up 44 pity points to Atlanta; you could almost hear them telling the sorrowful Falcons "Who's Mommy's the brave little boy?" The Cowboys played Romo most of the game but decided to roll over and die anyway, either that or they are looking at another ugly faceplant in the post-season. The Colts started Peyton, but then realized that the only reason to win was to save the Browns season and my gambling week, so we got a big dose of Sorgi time. On behalf of myself and most of northern Ohio, I present you the gift of my middle finger. Just about the only game played full out on both sides of the ball was the Pats/Giants Saturday night job.
It's time for me to give the Pats their props. And I should be glad to. In my season preview many months ago I called their monster year:
...I think Moss is finally maturing just as a result of the natural aging process and realizing he could have been stuck trying to catch passes from guys like Aaron Brooks for a the rest of his career.
The Pats are not just at the top of the list this year; they are the 800 lb. gorillas. With apologies to Dennis Green, I say we crown their asses.
It's good to be right and you can't be much righter than that (although, I will grant you that it was not exactly an original opinion at the time). At the moment, there is no way any rational human being could not pick the Pats to win the Super Bowl. You may not want them to win (I don't) and you may think they are beatable (I do), but you cannot reasonably have the expectation that they will lose.
I think the Pats can be beaten but it is going to take an incredible game to do so. Teams have had success when they can keep the pressure on Brady, but no one has been able to do it for a full game. At some point in the second half of all the close games, Brady suddenly found himself with lots of time. If you are going to win, that must never be. If your defense can keep the pressure on, your offense has a chance to exploit your running game. But you better not go three and out more than once. Even if you don't score, you have to stay on top of the field position battle. Basically your strategy should be to play the best game of your life for four solid quarters. You can do it, but I don't think you will.