That’s the theme of the week, of course. Moving on. Eyes out of the rear-view mirror, lest you mention “4th and 2” one more bleeping time.
Of course, in order to move on, we first need acceptance, a motion that an increasing amount of fans have accomplished. The rest – those we now call the sinful doubters – wallow in what could have been at Indy were it not for Belichick’s boneheaded decision to go for it.
But, move on we must. For only the bitter among Patriots fans still think the move is up for debate. No, the “real” Patriots fans have admitted a knee-jerk reaction Sunday night, some of which will cost hundreds of dollars to replace those LCD’s that now have a beer bottle neck protruding out of the upper-left corner. But the past five days have allowed them to see the light. Tedy Bruschi is now the enemy. Merrill Hoge is now an ally.
Only now do they understand the true genius of the play – giving the ball to Peyton Manning just outside the red zone with two minutes to play. The statisticians have taught them that 29 yards is more difficult to score from than 80 yards. Or, something like that.
Fans and bloggers attacked the media for criticizing the play. Media members attacked fans, bloggers, and other media members for supporting it. Nobody thought it was a good play Sunday night. If you still think that now, you’re apparently in the minority.
In Bill we trust. Of course. The comforting glow returns.
Who they’re picking
Our roundup of picks for this week’s Jets-Patriots game:
- Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 41, Jets 13. “How mad and motivated are the Patriots? They’re playing the Jets, who were mouthy before and after 16-9 NYJ win in September. And they’re playing them after Bill Belichick’s brain-freeze call caused a 35-34 loss to Indy. Pats visit Saints next but this one has NE’s attention, guaranteed.”
- ESPN.com staff: Patriots across the board.
- Globe Staff picks: Patriots across the board.
- Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 31, Jets 17. “There are many reasons why I like the Patriots, but the biggest is that all the statisticians of the world got together the other day and ran all the Pats/Jets numbers through a computer the size of Niagara Falls, and this is the score that came out. And if the last week of Belichickian analysis has taught me nothing else, it’s that football games really are played on paper, not in real life.”
- Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 33, Jets 17. “The Patriots didn’t play well the first time they met, but these teams have gone in opposite directions since then. The Jets have sunk after their 3-0 start. The Patriots have a chance to put a real hold on the division here and I think they do it. There will be no dumb decision to lose this game.”
- CBS Sports staff: Four out of six pick the Patriots vs. the 10 1/2-point spread.
- Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 34, Jets 13. “The Pats are shaking off the ending at Indy and focusing on this key division game against a team that beat them in Week 2. New England has little shot at the top seed in the AFC playoffs, but it can ensure at least one home game by finishing off its division competition for good.”
- Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com: Patriots 34, Jets 17. “Say what you want about Bill Belichick’s decision on Sunday night, but I guarantee nine out of 10 players in this league would rather play for a guy who goes with his gut and trusts his offense in a big spot than a coach who just plays it safe every time out. If you’re going to knock Marty Schottenheimer for being too conservative in big games, you can’t criticize Belichick for going for the win. But a screen pass to Kevin Faulk? Why not one of those slip screens to Wes Welker or Julian Edelman that had been working the entire game? OK, OK, enough on all that. The Patriots cream the Jets on Sunday. I’m sure we all can agree on that.”
- USA Today staff: Patriots across the board.
- Pete O’Brien, USA Today: Patriots 21, Jets 17. “Tom Brady shoots for his 21st consecutive win at home and is 12-3 against the Jets.”
- Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times: Patriots 26, Jets 20. “Patriots come home to lick their wounds after a hugely disappointing loss at Indianapolis. They’re still an outstanding team, and have a chance to avenge Week 2 loss to Jets.”
- Yahoo! sports staff: Patriots across the board.
- Our pick: Patriots 42, Jets 10 Two words: Wes Welker.