As the Patriots' 2023 season progressed and it was clear they were not going to be a playoff-bound team, fans and the media started to count them out from every matchup and gloat over finally seeing a dominant team over two decades seemingly fall back to earth to deal with issues every other team dealt with during that time.
Because those who enjoyed their downfall decided to write the team off despite their overperforming defense, it looked like teams on their schedule began to do the same thing. That was the case with the Bills, who the Patriots beat in Week 7, and we can now add the Broncos, who just lost to New England on Sunday Night Football, to that list.
It was a game that nobody picked them to win, especially on the road at the end of December in frigid Denver. They were coming off a forgettable loss to the Chiefs, and because of Bailey Zappe's up-and-down performances, much of which has developed a pattern of falling off in the second half, the Broncos were the favorites by far in the matchup.
As soon as the game began, it looked like that would be the Patriots' fate once again. Starting the opening drive with a fumble, which was then recovered in the red zone, was not ideal, but fortunately, their luck changed over the course of the remaining 59 minutes.
As unexpected as it was for the fans, it was just as much of a shock for the Broncos, if not more for Russell Wilson. The former Seahawks quarterback has had a bumpy road since being traded to the Mile High City, and his performance on Sunday didn't exactly thrill Broncos fans even more.
Their outrage over the loss spilled onto social media, not just because of the loss in general but because taking the L also significantly impacted their playoff hopes at the same time.
Because of that, Wilson essentially admitted to overlooking the Patriots when seeing them on the schedule, which may have contributed to their heartbreaking loss.
"I haven't done the math, I'm feeling this loss right now. We probably should have won this game, probably the best thing we can do is get up [Monday], be with our families and get back to work."
How many times have we heard that you shouldn't look past a Bill Belichick-coached team, no matter their record?
Sure, this is a unique situation, as the Patriots had only won three games before this game, but haven't the 31 other teams in the league learned by now that you can't doubt the Patriots when Belichick is the guy on the sideline?
You would think Wilson, of all people, would have that engrained in his brain after Super Bowl XLIX, but apparently not.
Although they have "nothing to play for" since they were eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago, the Patriots could continue this streak and play disruptor to teams in hopes of making the playoffs. They can do that against the Bills next week, sweeping them for the first time since 2019 which would be an excellent way to nearly end the season.