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  Sunday, October 26, 2014
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xtra xtra!
Commonwealth Cooperative Bank
Rooney Real Estate
The Train Keeps Rolling
By Paul Noonan
     I'm done trying to explain it because, quite frankly, I can't. They're just a great football team. There's not much else to say. Sometimes I think you could fill half their roster with D-II college players and they'd still find a way to win.

     The Patriots are like some of the great dynasties of the past. They just don't lose. It's not that they try not to lose, it's not that they hate losing. They just don't. Plain and simple. As the Pats steamrolled the Bucs enroute to another AFC East title, the doubts again were erased.

     If there was a season the Patriots could have been mortal, or someone would find their kryptonite, it should have been this one. This fall has been the most chaotic for the Pats since the one that started it all in '01. With injuries, coaching changes, holdouts, etc., nothing seemed calm and collected in the Patriots locker room.

     The .500 start through eight games was not reminiscent of the Patriots, who over the two previous years had lost only four games. Now they had lost four in just one season. However, the last six games have been more Patriot-like. They have gone 5-1 and in the process, clinched the division.

     Going into the playoffs, that turnaround is a scary sight for any team hoping to end the Patriots' run. It gets even scarier when those teams consider the injuries that the Patriots have overcome. Harrison, Light, Poole, Gay, Koppen, Dillon, Bruschi and many more, have seen significant time on the injured reserve, yet the Pats kept winning.

     Critics have said that the Pats' offense is not the same without Weis, but still, Brady has put up career numbers. They say the defense hasn't been the same, which is pretty true without Crennell and with key injuries. Those critics were silenced by the goose egg put on the board by the Buccaneers last weekend.

     As usual, the spotlight has been on Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Atlanta and all the usual suspects this season. Funny because thats how its been the last few years, even though the Patriots still have all the rings. Many sportswriters say that now that since Peyton Manning has finally beaten the Patriots, the burden is off his shoulders. It will be the Colts who finally win it all. But didn't they say that even before Manning ever beat the Pats?

     The national media once again put on a surprised face, as the Patriots again prove they're for real. Most likely, the Patriots will finish 10-6, though they won't have their usual first round bye. Even more likely, the Patriots will be the underdog in the first round, and probably every round of the playoffs after that. I won't lie and say I've never bet against the Patriots. In fact I'm $80 in the hole because of them. But I will truthfully say I'm never doing it again.

     No matter what the odds, this team just gets it done, I've finally come to that realization; one day ESPN and ABC will too. Until someone else wins the Super Bowl, there is only one team standing on top of the mountain. And that team plays in Foxboro.



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