Contingency plans — no one in the National Football League does them any better than the man that runs the show at 1 Patriot Place. We have come to expect backup plan after backup plan. “Situational football,” sacred words down at Foxboro. Prepare for every possible scenario, “no stone unturned.” Losing because the other team was more prepared, not here!
As you might tell I am still trying to come to grips on this unthinkable loss to a Cardinals team that had to play yesterday’s game just after breakfast as far as they were concerned. 1 p.m. eastern time was 10 a.m. Arizona time. This may seem to be a non-issue to some, but you should go take a look at the record of West Coast teams playing early Sunday games on the East Coast.
According to our friends at Cold Hard Football Facts, West Coast teams playing at 1 p.m. on the East Coast since 2007 are 19-52. A sizzling .268 winning percentage. I don’t know about you, but I loved New England’s chances for a very comfortable win yesterday afternoon. When Vegas has you installed as a better than two-score favorite, the odds of that team losing are nearly as good as my 9- and 7-year olds not hounding me for a snack the moment I walk through the door.
When over analyzing the “why” and the “how” its’ hard to accept that Arizona was just better. Settling for four field goals before getting the first touchdown and not throwing the quick out to Welker on the two-point conversion despite having one-on-one in the ISO slot just doesn’t make sense. The moment Aaron Hernandez got his ankle rolled up on to end the third offensive snap of the game was the moment the “12 personnel” package should have went in the trash and the spread offense should have dominated the game, but I digress.
Putting this game in the rear-view mirror and focusing on the Ravens is a must. Short term memory will have to win out this week in order for the Pats to have a fighter’s chance of going into M & T Bank Stadium and quieting the hostile crowd in order to claim this road victory. It won’t be easy. In fact this will be the toughest road game they will play all season, the Ravens circled this tilt on the calender the moment it was released in April. Losing the AFC championship to New England in January as well as being 1-9 versus Brady and company added to the fact the hated Patriots are making their first trip to Baltimore since the 2007 perfect season will only make the Baltimore crowd that much more lively for this early-season matchup. Let’s just hope on Monday next week we are praising the play-calling from a big road victory and not second guessing the game plan again.