The Patriots played like a team that belongs in the Super Bowl this past Sunday. The Colts, well … Andrew Luck is a promising young player.
Making good teams look awful is something the 2014-15 Patriots have done all season. They are battle-tested, having gone through a brutally tough stretch of the schedule against some the game’s best teams, and winning most of them. The Patriots crushed the Bears, Broncos, Colts, and Lions. Off a narrow loss to the Packers in Green Bay, they beat the Chargers in San Diego. Regardless of how these teams looked at the end of their respective seasons, they were tough outs at the time. In the divisional round, the Ravens gave it their all, too. It’s those games that have built the Patriots into a powerhouse with just one game left to play.
“Yeah, I think as hard as it was week after week – we had about a six, seven-week stretch there where it seemed like every team was at the top of their division and playing really well,” New England head coach Bill Belichick said. “In the end it probably served us well. We had great competition all year. We played a lot of really good football teams and some great defenses, great defensive lines, front sevens, some great quarterbacks, great receivers. So, yeah, it was a very competitive schedule.
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“Our guys had to prepare and work really hard every week to be ready for those challenges. They did that. They were relentless in their preparation. Now as we’re grinding into the postseason it’s more of the same. But they’re used to it, they’ve done it and they did a great job of it this week.”
What about the Seahawks? Have they had a similar grind? Not quite. Their run to the postseason was different than the Patriots’ run, despite similar success. After starting the year 6-4, Seattle rattled off six straight wins to close the season – but hold on. Those teams included Arizona twice, San Francisco twice, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. Philadelphia aside, those are some terrific defenses, but very bad offenses. Ryan Lindley, Colin Kaepernick, and Shaun Hill don’t exactly scream competition at the quarterback position.
Tom Brady? He screams plenty out there.
Yes, the Seahawks defense is scary – just ask the Packers. But Seattle hasn’t seen a team more prepared for combat than these Patriots are.