, Gloucester, MA


October 31, 2012

Pats have AFC right where they want them

At 5-3, chests-a-pounding, the New England Patriots hit the bye week and the mid-point of the 2012, “right where we want to be.”

At least according to Vince Wilfork.

Judging by the AFC landscape, I’m inclined to embrace the big fella’s assessment. It has little to do with Sunday’s 45-7 dismantling of Sam Bradford and the Rams over in Jolly, Old England.

Sure, that was a pretty show for the folks across the pond, but this team’s first half had even the most ardent backers of New England football – you know, the guys who threaten my existence every time I name Jerod Mayo a “no show” – ripping the secondary, Josh McDaniels, even their Chosen One, Tom Brady.

Folks have been wrong to turn on this football team, in spite of the secondary.

Honestly, look at the AFC now.

Miami trails the Pats by one-half game in the AFC East, but that might as well be a 20-game spread.

In blitzing the Jets Sunday, Miami lost QB Ryan Tannehill to a twisted knee, issuing a new lease on life to Matt Moore. That sentence should sum up the Dolphins’ chances, but something tells me when the two teams meet on Dec. 2, Miami’s dreams of an AFC East upset will be dashed.

Seriously, New England’s road to New Orleans and Super Bowl XLVII seems almost cut and dried.

New England will see the survivor of the annual Pittsburgh/Baltimore war of attrition, then take to the road for an AFC title date at Houston.

Does that playoff fate strike fear in anyone’s heart right now? Houston is nice, everyone’s choice after the quick start.

Can Matt Schaub and the offense stay healthy for 16 games plus playoffs? And what about that defense? J.J. Watt looks unstoppable one week against Mark Sanchez and the Jets. But did anyone notice the 42 points that Aaron Rodgers put on the Texans a week later?

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