A month and a half ago, the Patriots were coming off a humiliating loss to Cleveland and staring down the barrel of a brutal six-game stretch.
Five games into that murderer’s row of opponents, New England is looking better than anyone could have imagined.
The Pats won their fifth straight yesterday, destroying the Bears 36-7 in a driving Chicago snowstorm. New England blew out a legitimate Super Bowl contender for the second week in a row, and haven’t played a close game since Nov. 21 — a 31-28 win over Indianapolis.
The Pats needed only a win to clinch an AFC playoff berth.?They got it in resounding fashion, jumping to a 33-0 halftime lead behind 195 first-half passing yards by Tom Brady.
The MVP candidate finished with 369 yards on 27-of-40 passing. Deion Branch and Wes Welker both had big games despite the weather (left).
On the other side of the ball, the once-maligned New England ‘D’ completely shut the Bears down. Chester Taylor finally scored Chicago’s points on a 1-yard run with 8:43 left in the third.
The Pats (11-2) control their own destiny in the quest for home-field advantage and a first-round playoff bye.