Before you get mad, there’s no such thing as jinxes. Relax.
The Patriots are for sure going to win the Super Bowl. They’re so going to win the Super Bowl that the declaration that they will doesn’t really even need an “unless something crazy happens” attached to it.
Thing is, they could probably still win the Super Bowl even if something crazy happens. Tom Brady could miss half the season and these guys could still probably win the Super Bowl. Stephon Gilmore could be an absolute bust and the Pats could still probably win the Super Bowl.
Tom E. Curran’s assertion that the Pats going 19-0 is “likely?” Totally right. They’re that much better than everybody else and should win every one of their games.
Forget 19-0 for now, though (even though they’re also going to go 19-0). Can anyone even imagine this team not winning the Super Bowl?
Really, every Patriots season since 2004 has carried with it expectations that it could win the Super Bowl. In some seasons a championship has seemed more likely than others. This season it seems the most likely, not just for the Pats, but really for any team during Boston’s 21st century sports dominance.
The 2004 Red Sox had the highest hopes (and the highest payroll in the league), but nobody actually assumed they were going to win because people still believed the team was “cursed.” The 2013-14 Bruins iced a roster that would have made their six-game Stanley Cup Final loss a lot closer the previous season, but postseason hockey is too wild to really assume any team will definitely go all the way.
The 2007 Pats? Sure, they were favorites, but we didn’t know the passing game was going to be that good — or even that Randy Moss was still any good — until the season started.
The 2007-08 Celtics? They’re probably the closest a local team outside of Foxboro during this run has been to where the Pats are now, but even they only had the third-best odds to win a title before the season. Plus, the number of new faces on that team made it tricky to pencil them for a championship in their year together.
So for a team that usually has the same story year in, year out, the Patriots are actually in somewhat unfamiliar territory. Anything short of a Super Bowl victory would be a disappointment in any year, but this season it would actually be a shock.
Here are the few crazy scenarios in which the Pats don’t go all the way:
– Tom Brady misses essentially the entire season and Jimmy Garoppolo either gets hurt or regresses. At least two of those three things are unlikely.
Shoot, that’s actually it. All of the other scenarios seem impossible. Even if Derek Carr and Amari Cooper both take massive steps forward, that means that, what, the Raiders have as good a passing attack as the Pats? That doesn’t get Oakland past New England.
And who in the NFC is going to stop them in the Super Bowl? The Cowboys? That team gave up 34 points to a Packers team in the playoffs when Aaron Rodgers was missing numerous weapons. What’s Tom Brady, Brandin Cooks and Co. going to do to that team?
Of course, the best team in the league doesn’t always win the Super Bowl. The Pats were still the best team in 2007 and they didn’t win. You could argue 2015 Panthers were better than the Broncos. So it’s not like being the best team guarantees the Lombardi.
But it’s just that the Patriots are so much better than everybody else. Of the contenders, none of them improved as much as the Patriots, and the Patriots were the best team in the first place.
Dammit, this was supposed to be a piece exploring just how nuts it would be if the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl. Turns out that’s too hard to even imagine.