Well, it's not Jan 21 yet, but the Pats vs Colts game will be a preview of a not-so-unlikely AFC Championship 2008 game. I am bracing myself for the pregame hype and inevitable Brady/Manning comparisons--you know, all the super meaningful commentary with the, ahem, experts trying to sound balanced and hedging their predictions so that they come out sounding wise and prescient after the game no matter what they said before.
I get the feeling that the Patriots as an organization snapped last postseason when the Colts came out on top in the AFC game after Brady's comeback drive (granted, he is great at them) abruptly ended in an interception. It's as if the Pats felt completely entitled to go on and win the Superbowl, and everything that's taken place since is a reaction to that stinging defeat. Think about the Pats' actions since then: handing over flipping great wads of cash for Moss, the embarrassment of Videogate, the somewhat nasty trash-talking, unnecessary on-field viciousness whenever they can sneak it in, and so on. These are all things I wouldn't previously have thought of as being characteristic of the Patriots, but my, how things changed in the AFC Championship loss to the Colts.
Given the Patriots resentment of that loss to our beloved Colts, and the ends-justifies-the-means approach to this season, and I have a nervous feeling that the Pats will be after the Colts' blood, figuratively and literally. The Patriots don't want to have to be in a 4th QTR "comeback" position this time.
Here's my fantasy scenario for next week's game: Colts with a 4th QTR lead of 2 points, and the Pats have possession. Brady methodically moves the Pats into field goal range, which has won them an important game or two (with Mr Clutch Vinatieri). With 5 seconds left, Gostkowski takes aim, and it goes WIDE RIGHT!! Bwah-hahahahah! That would be sweet.
And if that doesn't happen next week, I'll settle for it being the outcome of the actual 2008 AFC Championship game.