The Patriots are going to win tonight.
And they are going to dominate the Houston Texans.
This is it, people. This will be the coming-out party for the 2012 Belichickmen. This is the tipping point. All the national football folk will be on board after this “Monday Night Football” contest. From this night forward, the Patriots will be favorites to get back to the Super Bowl.
Prepare to be shocked and awed. The 11-1 Texans are going down hard.
I was hedging on this pick for a second, and then I heard the Texans came to New England wearing matching high school lettermen jackets. That sealed it; Patriots in a blowout against the High School Harrys of Houston.
I am sure — like Karl Rove was on the eve of election, and old pal Steve Burton telling us the NHL lockout will end. I haven’t been this certain since the Red Sox had that nine-game wild-card lead in September of 2011.
It’s a lock. The pigskin planets are aligned. The Texans are an overrated, unproven house of cards, waiting for their dope slap of reality at Gillette Stadium. In a kooky year when a trip to the Super Bowl is totally up for grabs, the Patriots are ready to rise to the top of the conference.
Everything is going the Patriot Way at this hour. Take a look at the rest of the playoff-bound teams in the AFC at this moment. The Patriots already routed Denver and Indianapolis. Baltimore is in free fall. Pittsburgh and Cincinnati suffered huge defeats Sunday.
Tom Brady is having an MVP season, the Patriots are scoring with pinball frequency, and a young, big-play defense is getting better each week. Think any team is going to come in here and beat the Patriots on the week that Tom and Gisele’s little girl is born? Not bloody likely. QB 12 needs a game ball for little Vivian’s crib.
Houston’s star receiver Andre Johnson says this is the biggest game in the history of the Texans franchise — quite a claim given that the Texans were in the playoffs last season. And that’s going to be one of Houston’s problems. The Texans never have been on a stage this big. They have never been 11-1, playing a “Monday Night Football” game against an AFC champion Bill Belichick-Tom Brady team. In December.
The Patriots never lose at home and they never lose in December. New England has won 20 straight games in the back half of the NFL season.
The 2012 Patriots are, in fact, almost undefeated. They lost three of their first six games by a total of 4 points. And they are a much better team now than they were in the first half of the season.
I can’t wait to sit back and watch the Texans make the mistakes that everybody makes against the Patriots. Prepare to see the visitors draw from their rhinestone holsters and shoot themselves in their own boots. They will win the coin toss and take the ball (just what the Patriots want). They will run into the backside of their own lineman, rough the Patriots punter, fumble the football, and drop an easy interception. They will try to cover New England receivers rather than pressure Brady (just what the Patriots want). They will manage the clock poorly.
It happens every week. The Patriots do not beat you as much as they wait for you to beat yourselves. It’s the Hoodie Syndrome. NFL teams do stupid things when they line up against the Patriots.
If all else fails, the Patriots can just wait for Walt Coleman to make a head-scratching call that favors New England.
I am not alone with this prediction. Patriots fans are the most confident, arrogant, thin-skinned fans in the entire world. It matters not that the Patriots haven’t actually won a Super Bowl in eight years. Patriots fans routinely insist that Bob “Hef” Kraft is the best owner, Belichick the best coach, and Brady the best quarterback in the history of football. The Patriots are smarter about the salary cap than anyone else. The Patriots go for value. They take only quality guys and, if there’s an occasional legal issue or failed drug test, it’s merely a “league matter.’’
The Patriots have the best-looking cheerleaders, the best game presentation, and the best traffic management. (OK, I made that one up.)
The Texans are coming to Foxborough with a great record and the best of intentions. On paper, they look great. Houston quarterback Matt Schaub is 15-1 in his last 16 appearances. Arian Foster has 1,102 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. Veteran wideout Johnson averages 15.1 yards a catch. Defensive end J. J. Watt has 16½ sacks and swats more balls than Dikembe Mutombo. Son of Bum, Wade Phillips, has assembled a killer defense that ranks second in takeaways and fourth in points allowed.
But they are up against Belichick, Brady, and the Patriots. At Gillette. In December. On Monday night.
The Houston Lettermen have no chance.
Dan Shaughnessy can be reached at email@example.com.