I have a message to all of Patriots nation:
The same quarterback—Aaron Rodgers—said that after the Packers 19-7 week 3 loss against Detroit. At the time Green Bay was sitting 1-2 after falling to the Seahawks and Lions. Since that statement the Packers are 8-1, and currently sit atop the power rankings in the NFL.
Let’s face it, the Patriots 26-21 loss was to a very good Green Bay team on Sunday. You played the best quarterback in the league in his own backyard at Lambeau Field. Yes, I said it, Rodgers is a better quarterback than Tom Brady is at this current moment in time. Historically the edge goes to Brady, but if we are talking week 14 of the 2014 NFL season, Rodgers has the upper hand.
New England had its chances on Sunday. With the football in Brady’s hands, with under three-minutes to go, as a Patriots fan, is there a better spot to be in? Nope.
Take away Nelson’s touchdown at the end of the first-half and it’s a completely different game. Brady made some mistake—especially two bad throws to Amendola and Gronkowski on third down in the second half—but in the end the Patriots were just a couple plays away from coming out of that game with a 10-2 record.
And they did it on the road in the original football palace, in the original title town. Rodgers’ numbers at Lambeau are off the charts this season: 6-0, 20 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. Rodgers had all day to throw to his receivers—most of the time to his third, forth, and even fifth options—and made plays that only a few quarterbacks in the league are capable of making. He picked on Logan Ryan numerous times and took off running for a third-down conversation late in the game that took the wind right out of Belichick’s sails.
By no means was this a “good” loss for New England and there were no “moral victories” to take away from this.
But it wasn’t a bad loss. There’s a huge difference.
So what does this mean for the Patriots moving forward? Well any sort of breathing room they had ahead of Denver in the standings is now gone. Both teams currently sit 9-3 apiece with the tiebreaker in favor of New England. They still have games remaining against the dreadful AFC East, and despite Miami currently sitting in the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC, is anyone really scared of Tannehill coming into Gillette and winning in December?
Which brings up this weekend’s matchup, a Sunday night primetime spot with the 8-4 San Diego Chargers. Phillip Rivers has led the Chargers to three-straight wins including a fourth quarter comeback last week in Baltimore. But does Rivers and company have the weapons to torch the Patriots secondary? Or a better question: does Rivers exploit the third, forth, and five options like Rodgers did? Not a chance. I don’t think any other quarterback in the league can do what Rodgers did to the Patriots defense. Rivers does not intimidate me one bit.
13-3 with home-field advantage is well within reach.
In Bill we trust.