The Other McCain

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Patriots Extend Winning Streak to Five Games, and Super Bowl Chatter Begins

Posted on | November 20, 2021 | Comments Off on Patriots Extend Winning Streak to Five Games, and Super Bowl Chatter Begins

Exactly as I predicted:

Since dropping a thrilling overtime game against Dallas on Oct. 17, New England has churned out five straight victories, with four of them coming by double-digits. The Patriots have held each of their last three opponents to fewer than eight points, including a shutout of the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.
It gets even better for Bill Belichick’s crew.
The 25-0 drubbing of Atlanta encompasses seven straight scoreless quarters by the Pats’ defense. In fact, the Pats haven’t allowed their opponents to score on any of their last 19 drives. During this five-game winning streak, New England is outscoring its opponents 175-50.
The point is, this unit is irrepressible right now, and its spurt has the football world wondering if it will be able to preserve it into the postseason — and perhaps even all the way to the Super Bowl.
“This would be too Hollywood,” Shannon Sharpe said Friday on “Undisputed,” regarding the potential championship matchup between Mac Jones and former Patriots QB Tom Brady of the defending-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. . . .
“Coach Belichick has the Patriots playing really well right now,” he admitted.
“We know this about his teams: They always get better. Late October, heading into November and December, is when they start playing their best football. This is where the really good teams separate themselves. [Belichick] says, ‘look, I’m not a fast horse, I’m a steady horse, and I want to steadily build.'” . . .
Chris Broussard opined that Belichick utilizes Jones in a way that is exactly what they need.
“That is a Super Bowl-caliber defense,” Broussard said. “I’m not saying they’re the best defense in the league, but it is a defense that I think is good enough to be a Super Bowl defense.”

You could see this coming. The Patriots were 2-4 after they lost that overtime game to the Cowboys, but the players at the time said they knew they were a better team than their record showed. In their next game, New England put a 54-point whupping on the Jets, and a lot of people said, “Well, yeah, but . . . it’s the Jets.” OK, so then the Patriots won a road game against the Chargers, had been 4-2 with wins over the Chiefs and the Browns. Going into that game, a lot of people saw it as a crucial test, but afterwards a lot of the same people suggested the Chargers were overrated. Fine, whatever. Then New England beat the Carolina Panthers — their third consecutive win, making their record 5-4 — and the skeptics were like, “Well, the Panthers are kind of weak.” (One week later, Carolina beat the NFC-leading Cardinals.) Next, New England faced a home game against the Cleveland Browns, who were coming off a big win against the Bengals — a definite AFC contender, and the Patriots absolutely wiped the floor with them, such a blowout that Coach Belichick took Mac Jones out in the fourth quarter.

The came Thursday night — a primetime game, with just three days’ rest. Would there be a letdown after the big win over Cleveland?

The Patriots answered this with their best defensive performance of the season — four sacks and four interceptions, limiting Atlanta to just 177 yards total offense in the shutout. And although New England’s offensive wasn’t spectacular, Jones was 22-for-26 with a TD pass, while running backs Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris combined for 125 yards rushing. Not bad for a Thursday night, and with their record now 7-4, New England has the fifth-best record in the conference, just a half game behind the AFC-leading Buffalo Bills. The Patriots now have 10 days to get ready for a home game against the conference-leading Tennessee Titans on Nov. 28, and if they win that game . . .

Well, ESPN’s Ryan Clark thinks he knows where the Patriots are heading:

“Mac Jones has some stuff in him, some intangibles, that I think are maybe the greatest we’ve ever seen from a quarterback,” Clark said. . . .
The former Steeler also dished out praise to the Patriots defense, calling them “Super Bowl-caliber” while giving the Patriots an optimistic outlook for the rest of the season.
“When you watch Bill Belichick teams, what do we always see? They are a team that ascends as the season gets closer to the end – the New England Patriots become the team playing their best. We are watching this team evolve,” Clark said. “Over the next four weeks – they’ve got two games against the Bills, they got the Titans, they got the Colts – I believe we leave that stretch of football games saying that the Patriots are top-tier contenders to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
“I believe it with my heart. I don’t want to believe it with my mind, though, because I want to be able to find it but you just cannot. This Patriots team is playing too good and this is Bill Belichick’s best coaching job of his career.”

No team has ever made it to the Super Bowl with a rookie quarterback. Mac Jones and the Patriots could make history this year.



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