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Jerry Ballgame is back again with some very interesting random thoughts and observations this week. He covers what he’s seen from his Patriots the last couple of weeks, and even speculates on who might be quarterbacking his team’s biggest rival next season.

THAT’S MY PREDICATION, AND I’M STICKING TO IT

McCourty and the Patriots defense have had very little to celebrate about the last few weeks.

In my last submission, I offered up a scenario in which I foresaw the New England Patriots acting as spoilers in the Super Bowl against Green Bay. Although my confidence has been shaken on a weekly, if not daily basis since then, I’m holding relatively firm to the notion that the Packers will lose their bid for perfection, on the big stage, in February. Whether or not the Pats are sharing that stage with them seems considerably less likely to happen than it did a few weeks ago.

My boldness was fueled by what I perceived as an increasingly feisty defense. One that was becoming accomplished in the “bend-but-don’t-break, come up with a few takeaways”, way of many good NFL defensive units. But then Devin McCourty returned, and winning seemed a great deal less attractive. The defensive back who was supposed to be his team’s best cover guy, has been made to look bad by the winless Dan “Step out of the end zone” Orlovsky, as well as “Rocket” Rex Grossman.

I’d like to think that the Pats are just playing down to the level of their rivals, but it does not feel that way. The sight of Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brian nearly coming to blows was not reassuring either (Although after that interception that TB had thrown; was there a fan who didn’t want to smack him aside of the head?). The highlight film worthy play of 6’6” tight end Rob Gronkowski, has been one of the most entertaining aspects of the season.  If he can avoid landing on his neck or pulling a groin spiking the football, he should be a fan favorite for a long time to come.

At any rate, despite the less than inspiring play of late, the Pats are still in the hunt for a top seed in the playoff picture. Houston can’t keep a QB healthy, Ben Rothenberger is taking a beating, the Ravens are not the defensive force they once were, and although the Jets are making their late season charge; New England remains as likely an AFC representative as anyone.

But should NE fall on their collective faces in the opening round of the playoffs again, I have another prediction. The Krafts would never fire Bill Belichick, but they might want to find someone to help him “buy the groceries”. Anyone know what’s Bill Parcells is doing these days?

THIS TOWN’S NOT BIG ENOUGH

Will Peyton and Eli be patrolling the same city next season?

Even the Big Apple might not be big enough for two Manning brothers. OK, technically it’s New Jersey… but there seems to be a very real scenario where Peyton Manning could end up playing for the Jets. I find it difficult to believe that the Colts will risk $28 million on the fragile neck, and soon to be declining skills of their franchise quarterback, especially with some attractive alternatives in this year’s draft. It seems the type of gamble the Jets are inclined to make.

Maybe the timing isn’t quite right, after all, Sanchez is apparently back in the good graces of the New York fans and media, not to mention the number it would do on his confidence.  But still, wouldn’t you like to see Peyton in Green and White?

If he does not end up in the northeast, then maybe the southeast and he takes his ball and goes to Miami. He could be the answer to the Dolphins’ quarterback problem and coaching problems, all at once. One way or another, I expect that an era has come to an end, and that Peyton Manning will follow in the footsteps of Johnny Unitas, and retire as something other than a Colt.

Editor’s Note: The following video is here because Jobu thinks it’s funny. Don’t blame Jerry Ballgame:

Mannings image courtesy of: DirecTV.com
McCourty image courtesy of: UPI/Matthew Healey

Jerry Ballgame

About Jerry Ballgame

The personification of "old school", Jerry Ballgame was born in the shadow of Dr. Naismith's peach basket, and baptized in that "Dirty Water." Designated by his "Uncle" Ted, to keep an eye on things, he's here to tell everyone what his view is like from the Hub of the Universe.

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