For the last week, I have listened through both what the media and what the fans think about the Pats and their chances. For the most part, a lot of media is split between the Pats and the Ravens winning the AFC, but both of us losing to either the Packers or Saints in the Superbowl. Now for some reason, the media has decided to say the Packers are a shoe in for the Superbowl, where as the the Pats would be lucky to get there. It has annoyed me that 2 very identical teams get almost exact opposite treatment when it comes to discussions. I figured fellow Pats fans would be closer to my thoughts in that we have a pretty damn good chance of winning it all this year, but it seems there is more pessimism than optimism around here. So I went to work, putting things together to give everyone a brighter picture. Here are some myths and arguments people use to make the Pats sound like chumps and not champs. 1. Past Playoff Record: This is probably the argument I hate the most. For some reason when people talk about THIS YEAR'S team in the playoffs they talk about previous years' teams in the playoffs. Last year's team has little to no affect on this year's playoff chances. No one uses this argument against other teams such as the Saints, who lost last year to the 7-9 Seahawks, or the Giants who haven't won a playoff game since 07. I don't think we heard that kind of talk about the Packers last year who had only won 1 playoff game in the previous 6 years. 2. The Patriots Have Not Beaten a Quality Team This Year: This argument is the result of people looking at the end of the year schedule and basing the difficulty of who we faced from that. One of my favorite quotes is " It's not who you face, but when you face them". There was a majority of games on our schedule where we faced people when they had winning records. Not to mention we faced some really hot teams on the road (Jets with a 3 game win streak and Broncos on 6). 6 out of 13 teams we faced this season ended at 8-8. If we had lost just one of those games then they become a team with a winning record. Still not convinced we haven't faced anyone? Here are 2 charts for you that may prove otherwise. To quickly clarify all the stuff in the chart. The numbers indicate the league ranking of the pass defense and the W/L indicates whether the team won or lost the game. As you can see, we not only faced more of the top pass defenses than the others, but we also did incredibly well considering our level of competition. Both the Packers and the Saints had the majority of their games against lesser pass defenses. Let's see the other side of the ball now and see what kind of teams we faced there (please note that the Pats lost to the 10th ranked passing offense, not a win). The offenses we faced weren't too far apart from what the Packers and Saints were facing. So in terms of degree of difficulty I'd say our schedule was harder if not as hard as the Saints and Packers. I do realize though that our record indicates how poorly our defense stacks against a good passing attack, but I'll save that thought for later. Now I do realize that I just compared both the passing offenses and defenses, rather than the teams as wholes, and some may say that you have to look at every part of the team and not just the passing parts. However, I do think it's a fair comparison to look at what the three teams' strongest unit (passing offense) had to face and what the three teams' weakest unit (passing defense) had to face for the season. Looking at these charts tells me some interesting things about these teams. 1. The Pats fair better than the Packers or Saints when their offense has to go against top pass defenses. 2. You need a very good pass offense to win against the Pats, but you may be able to win one against the Packers or Saints without one. With that being said the only team with a top pass offense in the AFC is the Steelers, meaning our chances of at least getting to the Superbowl are extremely high. Where as the Packers and the Saints are surrounded by teams with offenses that are in the top half of the NFL, meaning their chances are significantly lower. Should the Pats meet one of them in the Superbowl I like the Pats chances over them. I'm going to finish this off with a few extra observations about the Pats that give me optimism about this year's team. 1. This year's team is not only the most mentally tough team the pats have had in years, they are arguably the most mentally tough team in the playoffs. 2. There is a lot more veteran leadership on this year's team than there was last year's, and a lot less rookies. 3. In 2009, we lost to the Ravens without Welker, a slowing down Moss, and our top 2 receivers were Edlemen and Faulk. In 2010 Hernandez injured himself before the Jets game leaving us with a rookie TE, Branch, and Welker who was still kind of slowed down by his knee injury from the previous year. This year all our receivers are healthy all coming off 700+ yard seasons. 4. All our losses came in the first half of the season, and while Haynesworth was still on the team. 5. All our losses were by a TD or less. 6. Our defense has had a ton of injuries throughout the season, which has caused a lot of inconsistency throughout the secondary. We are finally healthy in the back field and we may see some consistency in the playoffs. 7. This years team has shown that the "lesser" players aren't going to rely on the stars to pick it up and will step up to make the plays to. 8. We have a very nice running back committee that may play as a big surprise in the playoffs. 9. Brady has fixed a lot of what was wrong with his throw in the beginning of the season. He's still has a few off target in games still, but a lot less than what we were seeing him do against the Giants and Steelers. 10. This years O-line is by far the best we have given Brady probably since he was a rookie.