Texans at Patriots: Champions Of The Past
In the last seven seasons:
Detroit Red Wings: lost in quarter-finals, lost in Conference Finals, won Stanley Cup, lost Stanley Cup Finals, lost Conference semi-finals, lost Conference semi-finals, lost in quarter-finals.
San Antonio Spurs: lost in semi-finals, won NBA Finals, lost in Western Conference finals, lost in first round, lost in semi-finals, lost in first round, lost in Western Conference Finals
New York Yankees: lost in ALDS, lost in ALDS, missed playoffs, won World Series, lost in ALCS, lost in ALDS, lost in ALCS
New England Patriots: lost in divisional round, lost in Conference championship round, lost in Super Bowl, lost in Wild Card round, lost in divisional round, lost in Super Bowl
In a sample of 28 seasons across the four teams which you would consider to be most consistent over the past decade or less, the teams have combined to win just three championships. None for New England.
We can talk helmet catch, or the Manningham encore that prevented two more Super Bowls for Brady and Belichick, but what about a wild card round loss to the Ravens where the game was essentially over after one quarter, or the more inexplicable loss to the Jets in the season after that?
At some point, we cross a threshold with these teams where it’s hard to manage between reputation and actual results. The Patriots are great every year — they’ve almost unbeatable in the second half of the season. Their defense isn’t exactly a brick wall, but the offense can turn it on almost at will, as we saw against Buffalo and San Francisco this year.
Brady is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league but even being half a step slower — with a lesser defense than the championship years — means the margin of error between a playoff exit and a Super Bowl has gotten much thinner.
We don’t expect the Texans to put up much of a challenge, as they were unimpressive in victory last week, doing as little as you could in winning to convince anyone that they were once 11-1. Also, we’ve already seen the Patriots methodically tear down this Houston team just several weeks ago, and that was without the injured Rob Gronkowski.
The talent should win out this week, but assuming that the Patriots are the best team in the AFC or in the league might be too simple of a conclusion and one that merits less and less support as the years between championships go by.
It just might not matter this week.
Patriots win 21-16.
What does everybody think?