Monday, January 13, 2014

Bob Lobel: Expect the Patriots to be Super Again this Sunday

By Bob Lobel  @boblobel

Enough with the Bruno Mars stuff.  

Pepsi may have invested a fortune in the Super Bowl halftime show, but it’s time to let it go. We get it. 

The commercial where halftime is first invented due to Pepsi is cute, but please, enough Bruno. 

Actually, the NFL has made a nice comeback. Maybe it’s because the four best teams and four of the best quarterbacks are left. This is no fluke as we head into this two-game bonanza on Sunday.

Weather in Denver will be perfect, 55 and sunny. Sorry, but its true. 

The other game is to provide an opponent for the big game in two weeks, but we all know these two games are more important than the final big one. Like the World Series, the playoffs to get there have provided all the drama necessary. If the Patriots win this Sunday, they will win the big one. We know it’s not a match up of Brady and Manning. We know that they are never on the field at the same time. It’s really our offensive line against their defensive front. 

We know the Patriots' game plan is to run, run and run some more. Keep the ball away from Peyton.  Denver knows that. Everybody knows that. What could either team possibly do to surprise the other? 

Nothing. Mike Vrable is not walking through that door. Remember when that was the big game special? Maybe Rob Ninkovich is this week’s new Vrable, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

That was when the Patriots had a passing attack, but now it’s tough to run a tight end offense without a tight end. So be it.  

Two prolific quarterbacks. Denver has more offensive weapons but a sieve for a defense. The Patriots also have a sieve for a defense. So guess what? Watch the special teams. Edelman on punt returns. Blount on kickoff returns. And what about field goal kickers? Ours is as good as any other in the league. 

The formula in these games is always the same. Get inside the 20 and make sure you get to the end zone. Field goals in the red zone are a lousy fall back option. If you’re kicking field goals from inside the 20 in the first half, you’re toast.  

Four Super Bowl wins with Brady and Belichick would be perfect. Vinatieri has four rings.  He wears the number 4. Orr has made that a magic number around these parts so, it’s kinda now or never.  

Charles Barkley said he loves the Patriots and their coach, but not their fans.


He says they are spoiled and take the team for granted. He’s right, isn’t he? Are we at all surprised the Patriots are in the final four?  No, because anything else would be unacceptable. Do you realize the difference between this game being in Denver and being here is a penalty called in the Jets game that prevented overtime and gave the Patriots a loss early in the season. 

Or losing to Cincinnati or to woeful Miami in the next to last game of the regular schedule. Or, even a loss to Carolina. It’s a razor-thin margin that is making the Patriots play out there.

But it says here it won’t matter. The Patriots are the best mediocre team in the AFC and will prove it Sunday.

That’s the big game. What happens after that is a halftime with Bruno Mars.

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