It hasn’t been a typical season for the Patriots, but New England is “still here.”
Despite an underwhelming regular season by their standards, the Patriots still managed to secure the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs and steamrolled the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round this past Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Next on tap for New England: its eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game. The Patriots will have to get through a tough customer in the Kansas City Chiefs in order to reach Super Bowl LIII, but if Tom Brady and Co. pull it off, Colin Cowherd believes the rest of the conference should surrender.
It’s tough to argue with Cowherd’s point. If the Patriots still manage to play for the Lombardi Trophy in a so-called “down year,” what’s going to happen when they bolster their roster heading into the 2019 campaign? While there’s no guarantee New England hits on all of its draft picks, there’s no denying it has nicely set itself up for the future.
There’s a chance, however, the Patriots themselves could be viewing this season as a “now or never” situation, as it remains to be seen if Tom Brady will be able to play at a high level beyond this season. And even if he is, the franchise will face a tall task in trying to replace him whenever that day comes.
But regardless of what the future holds, it would be pretty demoralizing for the rest of the league to see the Patriots advance to their ninth Super Bowl since 2001.