The what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-these-Patriots Patriots are America's team

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If you’re not going to go 19-0, you might as well be mortal. 

That’s my rationale for loving this Patriots season. I thought they were going to be  a wagon. I thought they were going to win every game. They aren’t.

I thought they were going to win the Super Bowl. I still think they are. I just know they’re taking a different path there, and that the aforementioned path involves cigarette sales going through the roof in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont and Connecticut. 

Because right now the Patriots aren’t a wagon. They’re a wagon in the Tom-Brady-is-on-the-team-so-they’re-a-wagon sense, but not like in the 2004 they-can-seriously-do-anything-they-want-in-all-three-phases-of-the-game sense.

And really, that’s OK for a couple of reasons. For one, the rest of the league still kind of stinks and they’ll be fine. More importantly, it’s a fun little spin on the “Patriots go to the playoffs, probably win a bunch” story we see unfold every year. 

For an organization that’s had the constant of Belichick and Brady, the story is typically the same. Brady has a good season, defense gets better over time, team gets to AFC Championship. Last year we got to see a couple of other quarterbacks play, which was a real treat, but generally we know what we’re getting. 

After the Patriots lost in Week 1, there were a few different ways the season could go. 14-2? Been there, done that. 15-1. That might be kind of a modern day version of the 2003 14-2 given that it started with a Week 1 loss, but 15-1 is kind of an odd record. 

Instead, we have weeks of “what the hell is going on here?” It’s exciting! Know why? Because we don’t know what the hell is going on. 

We don’t know why there was apparently no spot on this team for Kony Ealy. We don’t know why the Patriots seemingly misjudged Stephon Gilmore as much as they did. We *should* be making the ‘ol skeptical emoji face at the Pats trading a starting-caliber quarterback for a receiver who’s not made an impact thus far. 

All of those questions lead to the product we see each week, most recently a team that fell behind by two touchdowns to the freaking Jets. It’s madness. 

Somehow, that madness will sort itself out. It will because Belichick teams always improve. For now, enjoy going into each week having absolutely no clue what you’re going to get. It will be like being a team of any other team, except at the end they’ll probably still win the Super Bowl. 
 

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