The New England Patriots got kicked out from the Super Bowl 2012 chase in a loss against the Baltimore Ravens 13-28 in the AFC Championship. As philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “That which does not kill us make us stronger”, and that is the mentality of the Patriots organization.
Free agency and the 2013 NFL Draft are upon us and there is no better way to look forward to adjusting the roster and reinforcing the defense and offense.
According to John Clayton of ESPN.com, the Patriots come in at second on his list of early Super Bowl favorites for 2013 trailing by Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos. Given the Broncos stats with a victory in all six AFC West games in 2012, Clayton believes that they have a high chance of matching this record again in 2013.
On the New England Patriots side of the fence, the Patriots have been in seven of the past 12 AFC title games. Reasonable thinking points out that the Patriots is a high contender seeking their eight AFC title. There is little doubt that the Patriots will not reach to this target in the season as it is very fitting that they will go 6-0 in divisional play as they did last season.
In contrast with the Denver Broncos schedule, the Broncos have a reasonable easy schedule; playing teams that had a combined record of 110-146 in 2012.
Here’s the Denver Broncos list of opponents:
2013 Denver Broncos Opponents
|Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore|
|Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego, Houston, Indianapolis, Dallas, N.Y. Giants, New England|
Although “an easy” schedule might get a team’s foot in the path to the Super Bowl road, it doesn’t necessarily means they will get there, as we saw how that ended the Broncos pursuit.
The New England Patriots schedule, on the other hand, is not as lenient as the 2012 schedule – a .508 record and playing with six teams that had a .500 record or better in 2012.
Here’s the New England Patriots list of opponents:
2013 New England Patriots Opponents
|Buffalo, Miami, N.Y. Jets, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Denver|
|Buffalo, Miami, N.Y. Jets, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina, Houston|
Regardless of the schedule – easy or not, it all comes down to what the team does in the playoffs. One can only hope that injuries will not be a factor preventing the team from going and winning the Super Bowl (I don’t want to just go, I want to win the Super Bowl!). As we know, had Rob Gronkowski been healthy in the 2011 and 2012 playoffs, the chances that the Patriots would have conquered a Super Bowl victory is conceivably possible.
In the meantime, all a fan can do is to just stay put, wait, and see what Coach Bill Belichick has in store for Pats Nation in the upcoming weeks. Whatever decision is made, we hope to be in right path – one that only time will tell.
Follow Celia Westbrook on Twitter @celiawestbrook