We have finally reached one of my favorite months of the year, December. Everything about this month screams Christmas, snow, family, and above all, the Patriots absolutely destroying anyone in their path.
Ah, December… The NFL regular season is starting to come to a close, and we see teams getting into playoff form. Except the Patriots, who are more often than not in playoff form year round. The New England Patriots are no strangers to success in the final month of the year. Since the very beginning of the Brady era (2001 for the newbies), the Pats a winning percentage of 0.817, which as you can expect leads the league. Ask anyone on the team and they’ll say the same thing, December is crucial. From now until February, it’s a sacred time for New Englanders.
This is about the time we really see what this team is going to bring to the table come playoff time, which is exciting and nerve wracking all at once. This is usually the month where you see teams really solidify the identity they’ve established throughout the season, but this year might be a little different.
The 2016 Patriots are a weird team. You have a 39-year-old phenom at quarterback, a semi-decent offensive line, a seriously banged up receiving core, absolute animals in the backfield, and a kind of terrible defense. All those components don’t exactly makeup a super bowl contending team. There’s really nothing defining about them, besides the fact that they’re the Patriots. Over years the years we’ve been able to say what really stands out, for example Darrell Revis and Brandon Browner being huge parts of the secondary during the 2014 super bowl championship season. Or in the year that shall not be named, watching Brady and Randy Moss put on an absolute show every single week. This year though, I don’t really know. Now that’s not me saying I don’t see this team making it far in the playoffs at all. I have them winning it all. That’s just me playing a little bit of devils advocate.
Hopefully the final five weeks of the regular season really bring the pieces of the puzzle together. Here’s a look at the last few games for New England leading up to the playoffs.
12/4: home vs. LA Rams
12/12: home vs. Baltimore. Should be an epic Monday nighter.
12/18: at Denver. The Pats have a problem playing at Mile High for some reason, so this is definitely one you don’t want to miss.
12/24: home vs. NYJ. That’s right, the Jets are coming up to Foxboro for a week 11 rematch.
1/1: at Miami. The last game of the season is usually a resting game for all the starters, but with the Dolphins looking to make a playoff push, it’s possible we see a normal roster to ring in the new year.
There’s two pretty good games in the remainder of the schedule, coming back to back, but I can honestly say I could see New England win out and finish the season with only two losses. It may sound like I’m concerned at times but in reality I’m really not. Sometimes I seem to forget just who this team is. The Patriots are going to continue to dominate, no matter the month, it’s just fun as hell to add fuel to the fire and make teams dread playing New England even more than they already do.
Happy December, Pats fans. Sit back and enjoy.