The New England Patriots will face off against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. 16 weeks ago the teams squared off in Buffalo, a game I attended. The difference between the teams then are complete opposite to where they are now. At the time the Patriots were relatively healthy sands Rob Gronkowski. The Bills were missing key starters in Jairus Byrd and Stephon Gilmore. Fast forward to Sunday's game and the Patriots are the walking wounded. They are playing with duct tape and super glue. In a season that started in turmoil with the Aaron Hernandez situation, the group has the mental toughness it has lacked in the past few seasons. They have lost starters to injured reserve. Not just any starters but some of the biggest stars on the team. Pro Bowlers such as Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Rob Gronkowski. Add them to a list that includes solid players such as Sebastian Vollmer and Tommy Kelly. What the team is on the verge of accomplishing is impressive in every sense of the word. The Patriots have a chance on Sunday to clinch a first round bye with a victory over the Bills. Should Denver lose and the Patriots win that first round bye becomes home field advantage. For full playoff scenarios follow this NFL.Com Link http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000303368/article/2013-nfl-playoff-scenarios-for-week-17
Even with all the injuries the Patriots have remained in the thick of the playoff race and are 9 point favorites Sunday afternoon. Full NFL odds
for all Sundays games This season points to the greatness of the two men who have been in New England for all five Super Bowl appearances and three world championships, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Belichick and Brady have won more games then Dan Marino and Don Shula. They have been to more Super Bowls then any coach and quarterback combo with five. They are tied with Bill Walsh and Joe Montana for second most Super Bowl wins behind only Chuck Knoll and Terry Bradshaw. If they should win another before they both hang it up we can safely say they are the beast combo of coach and quarterback in NFL history. Many are saying that this is Belichick's best coaching job in his career. I argue that 2001 was still the best because of where they started and where they ended up just two season after Pete Carroll and Bobby Grier destroyed the Patriots. Belichick has handled everything perfect this season. From the signing of Tim Tebow, hardly the circus it was in New York, the arrest of Aaron Hernandez, to how his team answered the call with so many starters down. He is clearly in charge of this and all his players are busting their butts. When Wilfork and Kelly went down, the run defense suffered. Yet they are still in games playing a couple of rookies in Joe Vellano and Chris Jones. With Gronkowski out the first six weeks they went 5-1. When he came back the offense got better. With Gronk gone for the season now they adjusted and got an important win in Baltimore. If the team can get on a run in the playoffs and win it all, we just might recognize this as the best season Belichick has had. The other man that deserves the credit is Tom Brady. His stats are not where they were from 2007-2012, but as Belichick says "Stats are for losers" Brady has been at his best this year, better than in 2006 which I thought was his most impressive year. He entered the season with hardly anyone who had ever caught a pass from him. All Brady did (after some growing pains) was turn Julien Edelman into the second coming of Wes Welker. He has taken two rookie receivers in Kembrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson and won with them. He is handing the ball off to a different back every week. The team just keeps on winning. Brady is again throwing to the open receiver. He is managing the game well. He has had his team in position to win every game this year. We now again have the ultimate confidence in TB12 that if there is time left on the clock, he will win the game. The next few weeks will tell us how much this TEAM has in it. Yet you can't spell the Patriots team without Bill Belichick ad Tom Brady.