Patriots recover from slow start

17 January 2013 05:20:55 GMTPlus11

As the New England Patriots left the field at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in the third week of the season, few observers expected the two sides to meet again in the AFC Championship.

New England had entered the season widely promoted as the Super Bowl favorites. The East Coast media, generally known for over selling the Big East in college basketball, the Knicks, Jets, Giants and Rangers in New York and anything to do with Boston had once again jumped on the bandwagon and promoted Bill Belichick's side as worthy of an undefeated season.

Such talk came to a crashing halt in the second week of the season when the Arizona Cardinals went into Gillette Stadium and stunned the Foxboro crowd, not to mention scribes up and down the Eastern Seaboard, with a 20-18 victory. Ironically that loss and the one the following week to the Ravens may have been the best thing that happened to the Patriots. Shorn of the potential comparison to the great, undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins side, New England quietly went about their business losing only twice more. Along the way quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots offense scored 557 points, more than 100 more than any of the three remaining sides in the post season.

Ultimately that's what has to be the focus for the Patriots in the AFC Championship and, should they defeat Baltimore, the Super Bowl. The New England defense is unlikely to stop their opponents and it will all come down to the arm of Tom Brady.

The Patriots areĀ 11/10 to win the Super Bowl, while the Ravens are 2/9.

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