... I haven't done a "column" post for a while. I think I was pretty much awed by the incredible domination of the Pats for the first 8 games, and there was so little to complain or debate about. However the enormity of the game and the personalities that surround it, makes to too fertile a ground to pass up, so here it goes....again. 1. I'm disappointed, though not surprised that the media has made such a big deal about the "running up the score" issue. Lets be clear this issue is ENTIRELY media driven. About 95% of coaches and players have loudly voiced that they have absolutely no problem with the way the Pats have operated their offense this season. Yet the media searches out the crybaby losers, like Young, and Jags like Liwinski and claim the entire team is outraged, just ignoring what the Jason Taylors and Zack Thomas' of the league say. Personally I'm tired of defending the Pats to others about this topic. This Patriots team has the POTENTIAL to be one of the best teams of all time, if not THE best. These teams do not come along very often, and they don't (for some reason) last very long. However when a truely dominant team comes along, so does a large number of lopesided wins. The Pats are no different than Bears, Niners, Cowboys, etc However what is disconcerting is that the media should know this and treat the Pats with the same concideration THOSE teams got. (which was generally great esteem). Instead they have hypocrically taken the position that the Pats are bullies and should be presented in that negative way Nationally. Like I said, I'm tired of pointing out the FACTS of the matter to people who refuse to accept the substance, and prefer the hype. So I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the ride, and I suggest you do too. We should all feel lucky we were here to see and enjoy this. 2. I saw another replay of the 2006 Championship game last night. It wasn't any less painful than the first time. There were just so many plays that 2nd half, that if ANY ONE of them had turned out differently, so would have the outcome. Very frustrating to say the least. However the overall positive thing that I can take from that game is this. We went into that game with SO MANY things going against us. Injuries before and DURING the game. The tough travel schedule, the flu, the physical game against SD, substandard WRs, playing away, etc, etc, etc....YET we were STILL led that game for 59 minutes. This year our entire line up is SO much improved on both offense AND defense. (and I won't be redundant and point out the places. We all know where they are) We are relatively healthy, relatively rested, and well prepared to avenge that defeat this Sunday. 3. I know that the Colts are ALSO improved on defense, but they are not the same team on offense as last year. Its close, but Harrison isn't the same player he was in his prime, even if he wasn't hurt....and he is. The OL is banged up some and is younger and less experienced. Its still good, but not as good as last year's team. On defense I think they present a similar challenge as the Skins if you want to know the truth. The Skins actually have a better secondary than the Colts, at least talent wise, and the Skins are also comparable in that they had a smaller quick DL with 2 legitimate outside Pass rushers, just like the Colts. Perhaps a better parallel to the Colts DL is the Chargers (even tough they play a 3-4) That similarity is best exemplified by the strong 2 outside rushers. The Colts have Mathis and Freeney, the Chargers had Phillips and Merriman. My point is that in both cased the Pats managed to not only neutralize this apparent strength, they EXPLOITED IT. I don't care what you say, but Phillips and Merriman presented more difficult threat as outside pass rushers than what Freeney and Mathis will on Sunday. Ware and Ellis were a good pair for Dallas, and how did they do in ULTIMATELY stopping the Pats offense. Sure they are going to have a play or two that they are going to win at, but overall, in EVERY case this season, these rush duos were more of a hinderance to the Pats offense than in impediment. BOTTOM LINE: I don't see the Colts pass rush having any more success at harassing or impeding Brady than any other team we've faced, especially the 3 I mentioned (all of whom had their moments, but that all they were...moments) 4. As to the secondary. I have been VERY impressed with the Colt secondary. They play with a physicalness and attitude that we have never seen before in an INDY team. In fact the entire defense plays more physical and with a 'bad' attidute on defense. However this Colts secondary is no more impressive than the one the Skins presented to us. Sanders is perhaps the top S in the league, but he isn't better than the talent that BOTH Landry and Taylor brought. Those CBs are good as well but they aren't all pros yet either. And its not those front 4 guys that will have to match up with us, its the nickel and dime guys too and they are the ones who will present the greatest mismatches to us BOTTOM LINE: Since I don't believe that Brady will have any less time than he's had in the past (or much less time, because being in a dome gives the opposition DL a distinct advantage getting off the ball), AND I don't believe that the Colts secondary is significantly better than what we've seen already, the Pats will move the ball as well as they have at any time this season. IMHO the only chance the Colts have in holding the score down, is making all those successful drives into the Colts redzone turn into FGs rather than TDs 5. Now on the defense the situation looks even better...if you can believe that. Think about it. We all forget that although the defense failed miserably in the 2nd half of that game, it did an excellent job THROUGHOUT the first half. They just ran out of players and gas in the second half. Although he wasn't good enough to make the team this year, losing Artrell Hawkins in the first half hurt a lot more than people realize. Now we were playing with a relatively inexperienced SS (Sanders) and an absolutely inexperienced FS in Baker. Common wisdom has stated the Colts were picking on Brushci and Alexander (which they did to some extent), but IMHO the real damage was done to the young safeties. Obviously THAT situation isn't present THIS year. We not only have a deep and much more experienced and talented Safety situation, we are much improved at LB both in talent and experience with both Thomas and Seau available. Finally, as Pats fans we sometimes have a tendency to forget how critical the extraordinary play of Peyton Manning that half was to the success of the comeback. He was litterally flawless that second half. It was the best half of his career. And for that reason it is reasonable to assume that while we will see a very good QB who will have a very good game this week, it won't be his best game, and that is what it took to beat us last season....barely. 6. Special teams - Neither team will punt more that 2-3 times this game, but they WILL KO several times and in that area the Pats have a clear advantage, and it will matter this game. 7. Here is how I basically see it working out. The Colts are skillfull enough on offense to move the ball against the Pats. Good enough to see them have 5 scoring drives this game. Unfortunately for them, I only see them getting into the endzone twice, so their score will be 23. On the other hand I see the Pats having 7 scoring drives and getting into the endzone at least 3 times so I see a bottom line score of 33-40 points. So the Pats will cover again. I can't wait to see what the spread is against our next opponent. 8. I think I am among the minority who are desperately hoping that the Pats WON'T win the toss on Sunday. I want them to have the second half kick off. By then they will know exactly what to expect from the Colts, and the defense won't be tired to start the 2nd half. One of the reasons I think added to the Pats 2nd half collapse was the fact the Defense was on the field for a long Colt drive at the end of the first half, and the Colts got the opening kick off and preceded to have ANOTHER long drive for a TD. Then the Pats went 3 and out and the Colts then had ANOTHER long drive, and by then the Pats defense was toast. You never hear that mentioned as a cause...until now And THAT's why I want to KO to start the game. 9. If you want to really get arcane, but the 'evil' Pats COULD be a major reason for the demise of illegal sports betting around the country. Despite ever increasing spreads, the Pats have covered those incredibly huge spreads with ease EIGHT STRAIGHT TIMES. Local bookies are getting KILLED, because they can't get the same amount of money on the Pats opponents. So the Pats are actually driving many out of the business with huge losses Seriously, after this week, I have heard that, if the Pats win again many illegal bookies won't be taking bets on the Pats for the rest of the year.