With a 7-2 start to the season and a commanding lead in the AFC East, the New England Patriots are in great shape in their quest to win their first Super Bowl since 2004.
In fact, the Patriots have been such a consistently powerful team over the last decade that it’s almost hard to believe it’s been ten years since that most recent championship. That perception is no doubt thanks to future Hall of Famer, iconic quarterback Tom Brady, as well as the Patriots trips to the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowls.
Those losing efforts serve to remind the Pats and their fans that a strong regular season is no guarantee of Super Bowl glory. So the 7-2 start, while positive, doesn’t mean the Pats can shift to cruise control.
If anything, with fearsome teams like the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and the 9-1 Seattle Seahawks out there, the Pats will need to be even better to win the big game (and get there).
Odds To Win Championship: 12/1
Key #1: Tom Brady
Few teams make it to a championship game without a top of the line shot caller leading the charge, and the Patriots have been blessed with Brady, one of the game’s all-time greats.
Brady is having another great year on the field for the Patriots, putting up impressive numbers in the team’s nine games so far. With 194 completions for 2256 yards so far, he’s burning up the AFC East and giving the Patriots a chance to win in every game. The team has come to expect no less from their all-star quarterback, so it’s good that the remarkably consistent Brady is unlikely to falter dramatically between now and the end of the playoffs. But he can’t do it all by himself.
Key #2: Help From His Friends
Even an all-world quarterback like Tom Brady can’t do it all by himself.
Luckily for him, and Pats fans, Brady is supported by a terrific cadre of talent on both sides of the ball. He has no shortage of options when making his plays on the field, and off of it he knows the leads he builds are often safe thanks to competitive defense.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski is one such option on the offensive side of the ball. With two 100-yard games so far, he’s a valuable part of the offense. Elsewhere, running back Stevan Ridley is burning up the field with 514 yards and six touchdowns.
The more offensive weapons the Pats can rely on, the better their chance of a long playoff run.
Key #3: Get healthy
The Patriots have won seven games thus far despite the fact that they have dealt with injury woes throughout the season.
Most recently, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly went down for the year with a knee injury.
The Pats need to get some of their injured players back before the playoffs begin.
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