I'm not kidding. Dan Shaugnessy of the Boston Globe is giddy that the Patriots have such an easy path to the AFC Championship game.
How dies 73-0, Patriots, sound?
The Belichickmen are playing the Denver Broncos tonight in the latest Game of the Millennium and everything is going New England’s way. Again. Could this be teed up any better? Could things be any easier for your New England Patriots? [...]
In order to advance to the AFC Championship game, all the Patriots have to do is beat a .500 team that was outscored by 81 points during the regular season. The Broncos are led by a clunky lefthanded quarterback who has started 15 NFL games.
There's arrogance and then there is monstrous hubris. I'm sure Shaughnessy reflects the opinions of a lot of Patriots' fans. And yes, I know Sports columnists are paid to be pompous asses and fools (we need look no further than the roster of our own "esteemed" writers at the Denver Post) but is a 73 - 0 "beat down" that Shaughnessy predicts, a reference by the way to the worst loss ever in the NFL, the 1940 NFL Championship game between the Bears and Redskins, really necessary? This isn't just your typical Tebow bashing, this is bashing the team that ran for 252 yards against the Pats defense and was primed for an upset until 3 devastating fumbles reversed a 16-7 Broncos' lead and turned it into a 27-16 halftime deficit. A game where our best running back, MacGahee, barely played because of a hamstring injury. A game when Von Miller was still wearing a club on his hand to protect his injured thumb and was a non-factor.
Maybe the Pats will win tonight. But it sure isn't going to be 73-0 humiliation. Of course, I remember the last time the Broncos were a double digit underdog in a playoff game. We were supposedly up against the best defense in the NFL and supposedly the best Quarterback, as well as the defending Superbowl Champs. Our O-line was too small and would get manhandled by the biggest, hardest hitting D-line in the game, our runninjg game was supposed to be shut down and our quarterback was too old, past his prime and had a history of getting blasted in the Big Game. The year was 1998, and that game was Superbowl XXXII. Funny thing happened, though, on the way to the Packers back to back Super Bowl championships. They got beat and the final score was close only because the greatest running back in Broncos' history missed the second quarter with a migraine.
I'm not saying the Broncos will repeat the success of that Super Bowl Champion Broncos' team tonight, but if I were a Pat's fan (or an idiot Boston Globe columnist) I wouldn't be so quick to assume the Broncos will be shut out and lay an egg. Nor would I assume that "Tebow Time is going to be Beatdown Time" (a direct quote from Shaugnessy's column). I'm sure a lot of Steelers' fans last week counted their good fortune that their team's first playoff opponent was the one led by a "clunky lefthanded quarterback" who supposedly wouldn't be able to pass or run against the best defense in the league. I don't think they feel that way now, do they?
Oh, by the way, the Broncos have a 5-1 winning record on the road with Tebow as their QB. Tebow actually played all but one of his worst games at home, until last week. Just saying, I like their chances, Patriots or no Patriots, Brady or no Brady.