O.K. We all know the Pats played and beat both Super Bowl teams in the Packers and Steelers but I don't think it was mentioned that the Pats have played BOTH Super Bowl participants in the past 5 years (of course NE was one of them in 2007). Has playing the Pats in the regular season given the other teams (regardless of whether they won or lost against NE) confidence to go into the playoffs and win their conference? Is it coincidence or is it something that has elevated a team once playing the Pats? 2006 - Colts and Bears played NE - NE lost to Indy and beat the Bears 2007 - Giants played NE in Super Bowl - NE beat the Giants twice that season - preseason and regular 2008 - Steelers and Cardinals played NE - NE beat the Cards and lost to Pitt 2009 - Saints and Colts played NE - NE lost to the Saints and lost to Indy 2010 - Packers and Steelers played NE - NE beat the Packers and Steelers If this trend continues next season (with a CBA in place) then we can expect an AFC East team or an AFC West team to play an NFC East team in SB 46 according to the Pats 2011 schedule (Colts and Steelers would be the exception) So NFC fans of the Eagles,Cowboys,Redskins and Giants can only hope this continues on.