In a week where some of the early-season Super Bowl favorites, like the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers have put at serious risk their presence in the playoffs, other teams like the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers, are definitely convincing more and more people that they can secure a place in Super Bowl XLIX in Arizona next February. And if in the NFC, World Champions Seattle Seahawks seem to be the only football team with the talent, the quality and the strength to challenge the Packers, in the AFC no team seems to be able to put up a challenge against Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s New England Patriots. Not even the Denver Broncos, even though they are a much better team than they were a year ago.
After a good performance against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday night, the New England Patriots seem like the team to beat in the NFL. The Chargers headed into the fourth quarter with a one-point lead but the Patriots were fully aware of the importance of this game and scored 10 unanswered points in that final quarter grabbing a 23-14 victory and clinching their 12th straight season with at least 10 wins, making it the second longest such streak in the history of the league. Tom Brady’s performance wasn’t the best, as he completed 28 of 44 passes for 317 yards, throwing for two touchdowns and one interception, but it sure was good enough to secure a win against a team fighting for a playoff spot.
An important aspect that makes the Patriots a very difficult opponent and a true Super Bowl favorite is the fact that they have different ways to win a football game. Tom Brady is perfect spreading the ball around the field but this team also uses the run game very effectively and the addition of running back LeGarrette Blount a couple of weeks ago will certainly prove to be very important for the Patriots in the playoffs. Right now, New England is in the drivers’ seat for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and looks like the favorite to win Super Bowl XLIX.
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