It wasn't long ago that the critics and doubters were happy to point out that for most of the season, Tom Brady barely resembled his usual dominating self. That was about a month ago. In the weeks since, Brady has looked every bit his dominating self, starting with hanging 55 points on the Steelers back in Week 9.
Two weeks ago, the Patriots overcame Peyton Manning and a 24-point deficit to beat the Broncos, survived a scare in Houston last week, and now have to get past the Browns on Sunday. And while the defense continues to find its way -- primarily due to injuries up and down the roster -- two things remain constant: Brady and coach Bill Belichick.
And as we've been saying for months, as long as Tom and Bill are running things, the Patriots will always have a chance to win. Here's what NFL Network's Mike Mayock said on Thursday night when discussing the AFC Playoff race, where the Patriots currently have the No. 2 seed behind the Broncos.
“Of that group, I think the team that has improved the most from the first day of preseason until today is New England, and I would tell you that I believe Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are having among the best year they’ve ever had in the NFL," Mayock said, via ESPNBoston.com. "Those young receivers, I don’t think there’s as much talent in New England as they’ve had in some other years. I don’t think they’re good enough to win a Super Bowl, but I think they’re doing a great job, on a weekly basis, of winning football games.”
This is basically what Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said several weeks ago.
"For the first how many weeks of the season, he was playing with receivers that nobody had ever really heard of, so you've got to give him credit for getting his team to 6-2," Roethlisberger said in late October. "He's got great vision, he's got big arm strength, a great understanding of offense and defense. ...
"To me, he's the best quarterback in the league and he's done it for a long time," Roethlisberger continued. "That's no disrespect to some of these other guys that are doing some amazing things in the NFL right now. But to me, it's about wins and championships -- and he's got more championships than anybody."
And unlike Mayock, we're still convinced the Patriots can make it back to the Super Bowl and we'll give you two guesses why.