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Not even a dildo on the field can stop the Patriots this season

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At the halfway point of the NFL, it’s New England and everybody else.

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
Rob Gronkowski scored his 69th career TD for the Patriots.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

We’ve reached the halfway point of a mediocre NFL season and it’s clear that the Patriots are far and away the choice to reach the Super Bowl from the AFC. It’s a gap that becomes more obvious each week.

New England avenged its only loss of the season, routing the Bills in Buffalo, 41-25. The Bills beat the Patriots, 16-0, in Week 4, but that was with the Patriots starting their third-string quarterback. Tom Brady is now back and he lit up he Bills for four touchdown passes. In his four games back, Brady has led the Pats to wins by 20, 18, 11 and 16 points.

Not even a dildo thrown from the stands during a New England possession could stop the Patriots.

As you can see, the referee wasn’t going anywhere near that thing with his hands, and decided to play cock soccer to remove it. Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount totally understood, though Brady at first thought a penalty flag was thrown.

"I said, 'No, that’s a dildo!' " Blount related. "They got that thing kicked off the field quick. Nobody was touching that. You don’t know where that’s been.”

Me writing about a dildo on the field is indicative of how boring the first half of the NFL season has been so far. The Patriots look excellent but everyone else looks like roughly the same team, with very little separation. In the AFC, for example, nine of the 16 teams have a negative point differential, and it’s the same ratio in the NFC. New England’s +85 point differential is 27 points better than Denver, the second-biggest spread in the AFC.

Peyton Manning retiring means one less superstar in the NFL and absent Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks are less compelling. Let’s hope the second half picks up. Right now, it’s hard to see anyone in the league staying with 10 points of the Patriots. The wild card, obviously, is injuries. BTW, Rob Gronkowski scored his career 69th touchdown and he has loved making 69 jokes leading up to it; he will take a back seat to no gay man in his love of 69.

The rest of the season sees the Patriots playing only two games against teams that currently have a winning record – Seattle and Denver. It will take more than a dildo to stop them the way they are playing.

A division-by-division look halfway through the NFL.

AFC East: The Patriots (7-1) are three games up on 4-4 Buffalo and should coast to the division title. Buffalo, Miami (3-4) and the Jets (3-5) are playing for a wild card at best.

AFC North: Forget the 0-8 Browns. The Bengals (3-4-1) and Ravens (3-4) pose little threat. The Steelers (4-3) will be better when QB Ben Roethlisberger comes back, but their non-existent pass rush (a league-low eight) makes them a shaky conference contender.

AFC South: All four teams range from frauds (5-3 Houston that has been outscored 85-22 on the road); happy to be at .500 (4-4 Titans); wasting Andrew Luck’s prime years (3-5 Colts) to a hot mess (2-5 Jaguars, who will have a new coach in 2017). Someone will have to win the division, get the early Saturday wild card playoff slot given to the playoff team with the least chance of success and go meekly.

AFC West: If any team can threaten the Patriots in the AFC, it will come out of the West. The Raiders (6-2), Broncos (6-2) and Chiefs (5-2) have looked good to very good at times, while the Chargers (3-5) have a +13 point differential and have been in every game.

The Raiders give up too many points and commit too many penalties but are fun to watch. The Chiefs don’t excel in any one phase, but play steady and are finally developing some deep threats. The Broncos have the best defense in the AFC and are built to give Brady and the Patriots offense fits (see last year’s AFC title game). The problem is the inconsistent offense, led by Trevor Siemian, a first-year starter. The last first-year starter to win a Super Bowl was Brady in 2001. Come playoff time, the Broncos will miss Peyton Manning’s brain, if not his broken-down body.

NFC East: All four teams have winning records, with the 6-1 Cowboys the biggest surprise with a rookie (Dak Prescott) at QB. It will be interesting to see when or if Tony Romo gets his job back, though the Cowboys can’t bench Prescott as well as he’s playing.

The Eagles (4-3) and Giants (4-3) have been steady but Philly is already 0-2 in the division and New York is almost as bad as the Steelers at rushing the passer. Washington (4-3-1) has a killer stretch coming up after its bye — Minnesota, Green Bay and Dallas.

NFC North: All hail the Vikings defense, the NFL’s best. They’ll need it, given how weak the offensive line and running game are. But a win tonight gives the Vikings (5-1) a two-game lead. The Packers (4-3) resemble a M*A*S*H unit, while the Lions (4-4) are perfectly average (3-1 at home, 1-3 on the road). The Bears (1-6) stink, yet have been on prime time TV four times already; no wonder ratings are down.

NFC South: Not as bad as the AFC South, but the division winner here looks like a one-and-done team. Atlanta (5-3) inspires zero confidence, the Bucs (3-4) can’t win at home (0-3), the Saints (3-4) can’t stop anyone yet are entertaining and Carolina (2-5) is having the Super Bowl loser blahs.

NFC West: Seattle (4-2-1) should win this division, but a weak offensive line makes the offense suspect. Arizona (3-4-1) finds entertaining ways to lose or tie, yet can’t be counted out just yet. The Rams (3-4) look like the same mediocrities in Los Angeles as they were in St. Louis; they need to give the top pick, QB Jared Goff, some playing time down the stretch. The 49ers (1-6) are the worst team west of Cleveland; somewhere in Ann Arbor, Jim Harbaugh is smiling.