The New England Patriots could clinch the AFC East title this Sunday ... even before they set foot on the Gillette Stadium turf. Another Bills loss in the afternoon Sunday would seal that for New England, as The Boston Globe notes today.
The story also quotes former coaches John Madden and Bill Parcells.
"It's the best offense I've ever seen," Madden said on a conference call yesterday. "I said the other night that Tom Brady is playing the position of quarterback, right now, better than I've ever seen anyone play it in my history."
On ESPN, Parcells agreed with Madden.
"You think back, mid '80s, Dan Fouts, Chargers, a dynamic offensive team. Then late '80s and early '90s, the no-huddle offense of the Buffalo Bills with Jim Kelly, a very prolific scoring team. And then that one year [in 1999], 'The Greatest Show on Turf' with the Rams, Kurt Warner, a dynamic offense. But this offense right here is superior to all of those."
A Boston Herald column, meantime, contends thatthe Patriots are doing more than just beating teams. They're crushing their spirits. Here's some of the evidence:
*The Patriots are 10-0. They are 9-1 against the spread. They have won by an average of 25.5 points, more than 26 teams have scored per game this year. The Patriots have allowed one opponent, the defending champion Colts in Indianapolis, to stay within two touchdowns. *
Since then, the Colts have been spinning in circles, like Mickey Rourke on his Vespa, looking about as threatening as the rest of the AFC flotsam. The Jets, San Diego, Cincinnati - this season is littered with teams that were expected to contend before they ran head-on into the Patriots.
And it seems oddsmakers still can't get it right. Each week, they make the Pats double-digit favorites, but it never seems to be enough, as FOXSports.com points out today.
"With the bookmakers giving Buffalo 16.5 points, the Bills (along with the Dolphins in Week 7) were said to be the NFL's biggest home-field underdog since 1992. Still, that number proved 30 points light — and the Bills didn't even play that badly," the article says.
"For the record, they're giving 18 points against the Eagles this Sunday, 22 if Donovan McNabb doesn't play. Another point of interest: they're 24.5-point favorites against Miami next month. Part of the reason ... is Don Shula, coach of the '72 Dolphins, who recently suggested that Belichick's team might deserve an asterisk on account of Spygate."
Speaking of the aforementioned controversy, a Pennsylvania writer says the Pats should continue to score as many points as possible ... because that's what he'd do if he were Bill Belichick.
Closer to home, The Providence Journal continues the point-scoring debate.
*The Philadelphia Inquirer* isn't giving their home team much of a chance here in Foxborough this weekend, as you'll see in today's feature.