The New England Patriots are sitting at 9-3 and are a few wins away from wrapping up the #1 or #2 seed in the AFC playoffs. There has been a lot of debate as to whether the Patriots’ defense, currently last in the league in total defense but 13th in points allowed per game (20.6), is good enough to get the team through the playoffs. The Patriots haven’t won a playoff game since their try at an undefeated season in 2007/2008. In the Musket Fire site poll, 45% of respondents believe that the defense will be the reason that the Patriots lose again in the playoffs.
The Green Bay Packers, currently undefeated, are on a tear right now. They are the clear favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and repeat as world champions. Who in the NFL, and specifically in the AFC, is the biggest threat to a Packers repeat? NFL.com’s Jason Smith believes it’s the Patriots that have the best shot at knocking off the Green Bay Packers.
Smith recently wrote a piece on NFL.com analyzing teams’ chances at winning the Super Bowl, which also means beating the Packers. He came to the conclusion that the Patriots are the Packers’ biggest challenge. Here’s what Smith said about the Pats:
The real main threat to Green Bay, and the Packers’ probable opponent in Indianapolis. The Patriots can go score for score with Green Bay, and you can trust Bill Belichick to come up with just enough of a scheme to get a key stop or two and pull out the victory. The biggest obstacle to them is their ‘Lady or the Tiger’ matchup to get to XLVI. If they draw Pittsburgh in the playoffs, they win. They’ve had Ben Roethlisberger’s number throughout his career and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue. But get the Ravens? Look out. Baltimore has won in New England in the playoffs and can get enough pressure on Brady to turn his arm scattershot like the Jets did in January.
Are you buying it? Taking the pulse of what’s going on locally and nationally, it seems as though the national media are much more positive about the Patriots’ chances to reach the Super Bowl than the local fan base. The concern, as I mentioned above, is the Patriots’ defense. Should Patriots fans raise their expectations?