Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Nov 2007

Patriots 16-0? Dolphins 0-16?

I believe the 2007 Patriots are the greatest football team ever assembled. I also believe the 2007 Dolphins are nowhere near the worst football team ever assembled. And yet as I think about the final six weeks of the season, I picture the Patriots losing somewhere along the way, and the Dolphins failing to win a game.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 23 Nov 2007

57 comments, Last at 28 Nov 2007, 2:25pm by Kurt

Comments

1
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 5:48pm

December 30th in Miami - if they're 0-15 going into that game, I'll be there.

I kinda think the Pats will win out though. Their only "real" opponent is Pittsburgh, who has been terrible on the road this year.

2
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 5:54pm

For the Patriots, you say they should be favored by a large margin in every single game remaining, but it's inevitable that they get upset somewhere. For the Dolphins, you think they'll lose out because you feel like the other team should be favored by a large margin in every remaining game.

That seems very goofy to me.

I'm hoping the Fins get a single win against the Patriots, and the Patriots have a single loss against the Fins, just because that would be hilarious.

3
by tunesmith (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 5:58pm

What'll probably be even worse poetically is if the Pats go 16-0 and then lose in the playoffs. Miami's real claim to fame is that they were undefeated for the entire season including the playoffs and super bowl.

4
by Costa (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:05pm

At this point, the Patriots look like men playing with little kids. I just can't in my mind see any scenario where they would lose any of the regular season games they have left, which would give them home field in the playoffs, making them unbeatable then too. I don't see anyone beating them on a neutral field either.

5
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:06pm

Yeah. The Pats just look unbeatable right now. You get the impression that if they played the '85 Bears on neutral field, they'd blow them out by 30 points.

6
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:18pm

I can see the 14-0 Patriots losing to the 0-14 Dolphins on Dec 23rd. Then the re-energized Patriots blow out the Giants by 30 points on the 29th and storm through the playoffs, finishing 18-1.

7
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:20pm

The Patriots look unbeatable because, for the most part, they're facing trash opponents. They didn't crush the Colts - they won by four, and were down by 10 with 10 minutes to go.

That being said, they're definitely a "man amongst boys" compared to the complete trash of their remaining schedule, with only 3 games against above-average opponents, and only 1 of the 3 (Pittsburgh) being remotely close to as good as Indy was at the time.

But they're not unbeatable.

8
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:30pm

7: Unless you think the only non-trash team is Indy, than that's not true. The Patriots have beaten the #2 team, #3 (Indy), #7, #11, and #13.

9
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:31pm

I must say, I'm surprised people seem to think the Giants have no chance of beating the Patriots. The Giants are a top 10 team according to DVOA, and their greatest strength (run offense) matches up with the one area where the Patriots aren't a dominant team, run defense.

10
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:38pm

I really want the Patriots to finish 18-1 because they lost the Super Bowl on the last play of the game behind some bizzare nonsense like a seven-lateral KO return or 97-yard scramble or a Brady fumble in the endzone. Your tears are like sweet nectar to me.

11
by Costa (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:39pm

7:
I don't see how their schedule was weak. Their past schedule DVOA is 4.5%, above average and the 9th toughest in the NFL. They've played the Colts and my Cowboys on the road, as well as some other decent teams like the Redskins, Browns and Chargers.

So yes, as you say they've had one whole close game. Against the second best team, on the road, and a team good enough to be the best in most other recent seasons.

25+ margin of victory, a QB who's on pace for 60 TDs and a 130+ QB rating, two receivers that are catching over 75% of passes thrown to them, two games where they've scored over 50 points, and last week, they scored touchdowns on all seven offensive drives with their 1st string offense against a 5-4 team.

What makes them look impossible to beat to me is not that they have won some many games, but how they've won them. This is the kind of stuff that is only supposed to happen in Playstation Madden seasons on Easy mode.

12
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:44pm

#8: I said "for the most part". Indy and Dallas are the notable exceptions, and hey, guess what - both the Indy and Dallas games were close (the Dallas game only got out of hand late in the fourth quarter).

I didn't say they weren't capable of beating good teams. Of course they are. But go back and look at the Indy/Dallas games. If they played Indy/Dallas again, would they be favored by more than a touchdown? Why?

San Diego/Washington are merely average teams - especially San Diego, whose best component is their special teams.

13
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:52pm

The thing about Indy is that while they won by 4, they also played a poor game. I thought most of the reason the game was close was NE screwing up and that somewhat unrepeatable 80 yard Addai play, rather than anything Indy was specifically doing to hinder the Pats. Once they rediscovered their "Throw to Randy Moss every play" system, they put 14 points on the board in no time.

and Indy had the best defense in the league for that game, and were at home.

The thing about the Giants is that while they may be able to run against the Pats, the Pats should have no problem scoring on the Giants secondary. The Pats O is so good that teams will have to match them score for score, and I don't think the Giants O is really built to do that with their secondary that to a team like the Pats can easily give up 50 points.

14
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:56pm

I don’t see how their schedule was weak.

Did I say their schedule was weak? No. I said "for the most part, they've been facing trash opponents." Most of their opponents have either been average-to-flawed teams (San Diego, Washington, Cincinnati, Cleveland) or just plain bad teams (Jets, Buffalo, Buffalo, Dolphins).

They've only played 2 teams where you could look at the team's offense, and say "hey, they're good", and look at the defense and say "they're good too." And in both of those games, they looked beatable. They weren't beaten, but they were beatable.

15
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 6:59pm

The thing about Indy is that while they won by 4, they also played a poor game.

Good teams look like they play poor games versus other good teams. Look at the 2004 Super Bowl. Both the Eagles and the Patriots had 'dumbass plays' in that game - Brady fumbling near the goal line, ditto for McNabb. Why? Because the offensive linemen/quarterbacks were thinking about the defense more than they were about the snap, because they had to.

I don't think that there are ever mistakes in a football game where you can say "well, I made that mistake, and it had nothing to do with the other team." Of course it had something to do with the other team.

16
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 7:12pm

15: Well, Rex Grossman can.

17
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 7:14pm

#16: Dude, I said "good" teams - by extension "good" quarterbacks. I definitely agree that Rex Grossman sucks enough that he doesn't need another team to aid his ineptitude.

18
by Costa (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 7:24pm

Well of course most of their games have been played against average or bad opponents. If you assume an even distribution between good, average and bad teams, then by definition they should play around 2/3 of their games against average or bad teams, which should qualify as "for the most part". :)

The thing that makes the '07 Pats different from anyone else is that normal elite teams will look beatable once in a while against average or bad teams too, whereas the only games where these Pats looked remotely beatable (and the Cowboys game is somewhat debatable) are against two teams who had 40+ DVOAs going in, and still have maintained 35+ DVOAs now. On the road.

19
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 7:27pm

18.

"whereas the only games where these Pats looked remotely beatable ("

Exactly, the only times the Pats have looked beatable are in games where they were facing teams that were in the TOP 10 OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS.

And I'm sorry Pat, the Cowboys game was not close. Indy yes, Dallas, no.

20
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 7:32pm

Also Pat, if you believe in DVOA, DVOA says that the Pats thoroughly outplayed the Colts. The only reason they were in the game were stuff like the Addai run.

Seriously, if the colts end up facing the Pats in NE, in the playoffs, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 15 point spread.

21
by TomC (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 7:47pm

You get the impression that if they played the ‘85 Bears on neutral field, they’d blow them out by 30 points.

Don't you blaspheme in here!

DON'T YOU BLASPHEME IN HERE!!

22
by Costa (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 7:52pm

LOL

23
by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 8:44pm

#2 Yaguar, shame on you. (see below)

#3 Tunesmith, That's about what I am banking on. Not 18-1 but 16-1 or 17-1, and my preference if for Indy to be the one to dethrone them. It's a long shot, but as everyone says, regular season is not everything; it's all about the post-season. This would prove it.

Sadly, not sure how whoever unseats them would be regarded: a pretender who got lucky but shouldn't have won (most likely, given what I see in the media), or a glorious conquerer, destined for eternal glory. shrug. Yaguar, now that the Colts lost to them during the reglar season, this is how it might as well transpire from a Colt fan perspective. I'd rather have our team get the glory than somebody else.

24
by Doug (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 8:58pm

Don't know if the Pats will go undefeated but I know with certainty they will crush the Eagles this Sunday--predicting a 41-13 rout

25
by sippican (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 10:06pm

There certainly has been a lot of ink spilled over the Patriots.

I've yet to see one person-- professional writer, newspaperman, TV yammerer, internet scribbler, fleck-foamed or thoughtful commenter alike-- that seemed to have even the faintest clue about Bill Belichick and his Patriots. Everyone makes the same mistake; they put themselves in his place and think what they'd do.

To understand what's going on, knowing what you'd do in his place is useless. You have to be a special sort of dumb to think that way. If you made even the slightest efforts to understand the guy, you'd know that you're all talking about things that don't mean a goddamn thing to the guy.

I am put in mind of an interview with Belichick from seasons ago. The interviewer went on for 2 minutes whether old Bill thought he could compare himself to the greatest coach of all time, Lombardi and his Packers. The question took the form of a rambling catch-all of details the questioner thought was important. There was a long pause. Belichick said that he didn't think Lombardi was the greatest football coach in history. The questioner didn't even ask him who he thought was. Just kept going.

Bill Belichick didn't think he was cheating.
He says nothing about Goodell lowering the boom because nothing productive can come from explaining yourself to a hostile media. He is not "running up" the scores, whatever teh hell that means in a professional context anyway. He doesn't really give two craps about going 16-0, unless it happens as a by-product of what he's trying to accomplish.

He keeps his own counsel. It would be a kind of mental weightlifting to figure out what he's thinking, so every body just skips it and imagines what they'd do in his place. That's why you're not in his place. You'd spend all your time worrying about extraneous crap and explaining yourself.

It's a league with a hard salary cap, a limited roster, a rigid structure for acquiring new players. It's as close to parity as leagues get. BB knows the Dolphins could beat them. That's why they won't. Unless the players start listening to the newspapers instead of him.

26
by muddy waters (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 11:30pm

Looking at the Dolphins schedule, I think they easily pickup a win in one, probably two, of the following games:

Dec. 2 vs. New York Jets
Dec. 9 at Buffalo
Dec. 16 vs. Baltimore
Dec. 30 vs. Cincinnati

But the Patriots won't lose until they face Dallas in the Super Bowl. ;-)

27
by J (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 12:13am

#9:

You seem to forget that there's no need to compare DVOA "rankings" when you have actual the actual DVOA numbers. The Giants might only be 9 "ranks" lower than the Pats, but their weighted DVOA is 62.3% lower -- which is significantly MORE than the difference between the #10 NYG and the #32 ranked 49ers. In other words, just because their are fewer teams ranked between them doesn't mean that DVOA would suggest that the Giants are any more in the Pats' class than that 49ers are in the Steelers'.

Seriously, MDS, it seems like after a few months of working over in the tabloid sector at PFT and the Fanhouse, you're sounding more like one of them than a member of the FO staff.

28
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 3:00am

"If they played Indy/Dallas again, would they be favored by more than a touchdown? Why?"

I think they would be favored by more than a TD against Dallas.
I think the general perception is that the Cowboys secondary is their weak link.
Just a guess.

29
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 4:38am

And I’m sorry Pat, the Cowboys game was not close

Silly me, looking at the game again! The game was within a touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter, and Dallas had the lead in the third quarter.

You're heavily, heavily confusing "outplaying" with "beating by a large margin."

30
by boylan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 5:30am

Re: Giants --

Ironically, after all the talk over whether or not the Patriots would try to beat the Giants and preserve the undefeated record - even if the Giants have a shot, there's a very good chance the game won't mean anything to them.

If they win Sunday, they will have a two-game and a tiebreaker lead over the Lions, Redskins and Eagles and a two game lead over the Cardinals for the wild-card. The Giants aren't catching the Cowboys and they may have their spot wrapped up weeks earlier if they take care of Philly and Washington in upcoming games as well.

The Giants may not suit up their starters to rest for the first round game at Seattle the following week.

31
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 6:36am

What weak analysis. "Here's a really great team that, um, could lose. Here's a not so poor team that could possibly not win!"

Thanks for sharing!

Way to make a bold prediction that no one will remember unless it happens (Miami), and a weak prediction that no one will care about if you get wrong (the Pats), combined with zero effectual analysis.

32
by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 6:39am

"I must say, I’m surprised people seem to think the Giants have no chance of beating the Patriots. The Giants are a top 10 team according to DVOA, and their greatest strength (run offense) matches up with the one area where the Patriots aren’t a dominant team, run defense. "

I'm sorry. Are you saying that more people should be concerned about a random top 10 DVOA team, one that is merely a "top third" team in a given year, going up against the BEST TEAM OF ALL TIME. And you're surprised?

Yes, the Giants stack up well... but as well as, say, the Colts did? And how close would that game have been if not for penalties?

I just can't fathom why anyone who's watched the Pats play and examined the statistical evidenced would look at the Giants and give them even a puncher's chance.

33
by johnt (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 9:58am

32: Because the gap between the Jets and Steelers was just as large as the gap between the Pats and Giants, yet the Jets still got the upset last week?

I understand this may be why they actually play the games instead of just comparing DVOAs.

34
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 12:49pm

#33:
Yes, but the Steelers had previous losses to inferior teams, all away, and their game-to-game variance was huge going in. Much more likely to lay an egg than the Pats, who not only have a ridiculously high DVOA, but also the smallest variance of all teams.

That said, it is still not impossible that the Pats lose a game, just very unlikely.

35
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 1:19pm

Interesting -- the "beat the Pats by radically curtailing punting" meme seems to be gaining mainstream ground. Probably because Madden suggested a mild form of it. Still, though -- the commenters here are ahead of the pack.

36
by raffy (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 1:31pm

Would be very interesting to see an MDS follow-on article comparing the won-loss records of opponents of the great teams such as the '85 Bears, '80s Niners, early '90s Cowboys, '99 Rams etc.

BTW, agree with MDS. The Giants have a better than even chance of beating the Patriots. Seems obvious to me. Patriots only care about one thing...winning the Lombardi trophy. If losing a regular season game, by not putting a full effort, gets the Pats closer to the prize, then it will happen.

37
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 3:52pm

I think people are thinking the Giants have a better shot than they actually do just because they want NE to lose and not go undefeated. If NE loses to Pitt and is 14-1 going into that game (and New England is trying), nobody would honestly think that NYG would win. It's mostly wishful (hopeful) thinking.

We've seen how the Giants play against Dallas twice now, and New England is better at nearly every single position offensively than Dallas. Brandon Jacobs is going to need a 4-5 TD effort to keep the Giants in that game, because Eli won't be able to do it and the Giants D will let up a billion points.

38
by James, London (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 4:44pm

After the last six days I like the Giants chances of beating New England much less than before. Essentially, the Cowboys have the NFC East in their back pocket, so the Giants won't have that to play for. Looking at the standings, the Giants look good for the #5 seed in the NFC, so it's quite likely that they'll also be resting players for the post-season. 16-0 looks increasingly likely.

39
by JMH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 4:49pm

"If they played Indy/Dallas again, would they be favored by more than a touchdown? Why?"

The Pats were favored by 5-1/2 when they played Dallas in Week 6. Since then they have beaten Dallas by 21, Indy in Indy,and beat three other teams by an average of over 37 points per game.

I think thats probaly worth at least 2 points in the spread.

40
by AnotherPatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 7:33pm

From 36, the following silliness: BTW, agree with MDS. The Giants have a better than even chance of beating the Patriots. Seems obvious to me. Patriots only care about one thing…winning the Lombardi trophy. If losing a regular season game, by not putting a full effort, gets the Pats closer to the prize, then it will happen.

Think about what you are saying: a better than even chance literally means you think the Giants are more likely to beat the Pats than they are to lose to the Pats (!) I can understand why the Cowboys fans want to fantasize that the Pats didn't smoke them --- nearly totally outplaying them, although at one point Dallas was even ahead -- of course, this doesn't mean Dallas can beat them, it just means they are in a small class of teams that may be able to score 30 off the Pats, but, unlike the Colts (the only true competition this year), they can't stop the Pats from getting more points than that. However, to say that the Giants are more likely to win than the Pats (as opposed to saying that the Giants have a chance to beat them) seems to have zero basis in reality (but if you get to Vegas, you could get some good money line odds).

Without regard to the undefeated season (and I assume Coach Bill only really cares about being undefeated in Jan-Feb. but believe he thinks 16-0 might be a nice achievement the closer it gets), losing to the Giants does not get the Pats closer to the Lombardi trophy. Given they will have a bye, it is still likely Brady plays a half and throws 4 td passes -- Cassell would have to play the whole game game before the weak stick NFC Giants chances get to even or better'n even.

I agree with 37 -- there is a lot of anti-Pats-perfect-season wishful thinking. The thought of all these Pats haters eating their livers over the success of the Pats makes for a lot of holiday cheer.

41
by J (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 10:32pm

#33:

You're kind of killing your own argument by pointing out that the difference between the Pats and Giants is akin to the difference between the Steelers and Jets.

The Jets over the Steelers was a very unlikely upset of one of the league's worst teams over one of its best. To suggest that a Giants victory over the Patriots would be as much of an upset isn't exactly supporting the notion that people should be expecting it.

42
by Judy B. (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 2:50am

Why would the Giants care more about preventing the Pats from winning than they do about preparing for the playoffs themselves? The Pats will have an extra week off anyway, the Giants won't. FWIW, the Pats were locked into the #2 seed before the last game of 2004, and Brady played the 1st 3 quarters.

43
by Not saying (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 7:13am

Re: 33

Actually, the difference between the Jets and Steelers last week is about 10% less than the difference now between the Giants and Pats. (NY-NE gap was larger last week, and NY-PIT gap is smaller this week.)

I do find it interesting that no one addressed what I thought was the main point of #9 - the strength of the Giants going against the weakness of the Pats. Belichick always says he tries to take away the strength of the opponent, so it'll be interesting to see how that match-up turns out.

44
by Nick_B (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 7:57am

Until reading this thread, I had thought that the Giants would probably beat the Pats, based on the desire on the Pats part to rest their starters.

I hadn't considered that the Giants would, based on current standings, be likely to also want to rest their starters, only more so, considering their lack of a week off.

Consequently, I'm now in the Pats = 16-0 camp, pending further developments in the Giants' playoff status.

45
by Phil (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 1:17pm

Ummm,
Why do people think the Giants have a better chance of beating the Pats than the Steelers do?

46
by Not saying (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 2:58pm

Why do people think the Giants have a better chance of beating the Pats than the Steelers do?

The Pats play the Steelers at home and the Giants on the Road.

The Steelers are number one in variance and the Giants are near the bottom (28th).

The Giants have a positive DVOA for Run Offense (ranked 5th) and the Steelers have a negative number (although still ranked 15th). Run Defense is (as MDS noted) the weakest link for the Pats.

Everyone just saw the Steelers lose to the Jets. With subjective commentary, people tend to remember the recent past the most.

47
by Gerry (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 3:16pm

I think my Giants have little chance. I think the chance they have is probably about the same as the chance the Steelers have, although I think the Steelers are a better team than the G-men.

But I share MDS' surprise that people are giving them no chance. Hell, on any given Sunday, any team can beat another. We never know when an injury will occur. We never know when fog will roll in, or a blizzard, or a typhoon, or a good old fashioned Meadowlands windstorm. We never know when a player will have a game out-of-his-mind above his ability. We never know in advance.

The Pats may very well be the best team assembled. But other contenders to that label (other than the 72 Fins) all lost, and sometimes to opponents that they should have killed.

Despite the relative cushiness of their remaining schedule, I would not put the odds of an undefeated regular season above 50%. It seems that many think it is a done deal.

48
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 6:59pm

29. pAT
"You’re heavily, heavily confusing “outplaying� with “beating by a large margin.�"

No, I'm not. The score was 48-21, correct? That seems pretty indicative of "beating by a large margin". The patriots won by 20+, and DVOA says that exactly the way that game SHOULD have gone.

49
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 7:11pm

"he strength of the Giants going against the weakness of the Pats."

Pats Run D: -9.4
NYG Run O: +14.4
NYG by 5%

Why do people think this is going to be such a huge area of mismatch?

If you want to talk about Run Defense being an issue, look at this

Giants Run D: -12%
Pats Run O: +18.7%
Pats by 6.7%,

SO, if one team has an advantage in the RUNNING game, its the PATRIOTS, not the Giants.

Not that its going to matter, because with this:

Pats Pass O: 81.8
Giants P D: -1.6

This game, DVOA wise, looks almost EXACTLY the same as the Redskins game, except for one caveat: The redskins had a good pass defense. The patriots should have a 14 to 21 point lead at the half, and then the giants bad pass offense will have to face the patriots great pass defense for the rest of the day.

Theres no objective reason to think anything other than blowout.

50
by Nelson Colon (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2007 - 5:31am

I'm rooting for the Pats to go undefeated (first team since the NFL started the 16 game season) while becoming this season's Superbowl Champs. This is Brady's shot at being up there with Joe Montana. I am also rooting for the Dolphins to go winless, just for the sake of irony. Imagine going winless and dethroning the "72" Dolphins in the same season.

51
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2007 - 5:58am

#50 Nelson, no offense, but how is Brady NOT already up there with Montana? Did Montana have a 19-0 season we all missed? Brady already has 3 SB rings and 2 SB MVP trophies--I don't see Montana snubbing him at any club membership meetings.

I think they should go for it simply because they can and the opportunity is there. I'm a Colt fan and really want a playoff rematch to go the other way, but hell, what the Pats have this year is very very rare.

As a Colt fan, I wanted a perfect season in 2005, but also hated it because I felt a SB win was ore important than 16-0. The pressure and media scrutiny on them was nuts and it's probably worse on NE this year because of their dominance.

It turned out that the Colts' 2005 playoff loss was much more bitter than the week 13 loss, only slightly mitigated when Pitt won it all.

Go Pats! (for the time being)

52
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2007 - 11:45am

48:

The Dallas-NE score was 48-27. Dallas led early in the 3rd quarter, was within a TD to start the 4th and gave up a meaningless TD with 20 seconds left. They were "in the game" until the mid-4th when they settled for a short FG. NE may have beaten them up on the stat sheet and I wouldn't use the term "close", but the game was competitive.

53
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2007 - 6:49pm

52

Yes, Dallas got back into the game in the 3rd, but then got destroyed in the 4th.

The game wasn't as competitive as you're trying to make it seem. It was a decent game, but it wasn't all that close (and DVOA agrees with me)

54
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2007 - 1:37am

Okay, so the Pats scored a meaningless TD with 20 seconds left, but before that, they were up 41-28. Now, one would assume that Dallas wasn't in the game at that point, or the TD wouldn't have been meaningless. So at what point was Dallas still in the game?

55
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2007 - 3:31am

When it was 1st and Goal at the 10 with 10 minutes left in the game and Dallas was down 14.

56
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2007 - 8:44pm

Pats chances take a blow -- LB Rosevelt Colvin was put on IR today.

57
by Kurt (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2007 - 2:25pm

55: When Dallas kicked that field goal, I was screaming at the tv that they obviously didn't catch the 2004 AFC Championship game where Cowher kicked the 4Q FG and handed the Pats the title...