Clint's Corner Archive

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The source for back issues of Clint's Corner. Forget a trade? Were Clint's predictions correct? Here's every edition, verbatim.

For 12/17/96

Loss still worth some points...

I know that in the NFL winning is everything, and losing sucks. The Pats (and a ton of fans) went to Dallas to win, not to make a good showing. Despite that, it's real hard to beat the Pats up over this loss, although the Boston Media is trying hard to.

Cowboys/Pats Ticket

The Pats went into Dallas in what amounted to a playoff game for the Cowboys. The Pats could have clinched the AFC East, but a Dallas loss would have been a lot worse than the Pats falling to 10-5. As much as 96% of all NFL fans hate the Cowboys (99.7% outside of Texas), you can't argue over their record over the past 6 years. When was the last time the Cowboys lost at home when they had to win? How often have the Cowboys lost on the road with their backs to the wall? Sure they have lost to the Giants and Bears this season, but they are still the Champs, and they were playing at home.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't fly all the way down there to see them simply stay in the game, but I'm not nearly as "upset" over this loss as I was over the other 4 this season. The Boston Media would have you believe that the Pats "failed" the test. Ron Borges' front page article in the Globe Sports practically tells you to sell your playoff tickets and plan a few ski weekends. Give me a break. I know the Pats lost, but losing 12-6 in that situation showed that the Pats can play with AND BEAT the elite in the NFL. The game could have gone either way. The Pats were a referee call or a fingertip away from victory. I'm not saying the Cowboys were lucky to win, Dallas earned it, but that game was anyone's until Dallas sealed the game with a first down with under a minute to play.

If anything, this game has given this fan even more confidence than ever that the Pats can do some serious damage in the AFC this postseason. If (God help us) the Pats can win at the Meadowlands on Saturday afternoon against the 6-9 Giants, they will likely face either Buffalo or Pittsburgh in Foxboro on the first weekend in January. I think the Pats have a better shot there than down in Dallas. I guarantee that if the Pats get the bye week, they will be favored by at least 3 points at home to open their post season. Two wins, and it's on to the show.

Consider this...

Mike's Boarding Pass

To those of you who think the Pats loss to Dallas is a barometer of their upcoming post season, consider these numbers when Green Bay (12-3) visited Dallas on Monday Night a few weeks back. That was a BIG game in what has become a heated NFC rivalry over the past 4 years. Uhhh, by the way, Green Bay is STILL everyone's pick to win the Super Bowl despite losing that game 21-6.

  • The Pats game was decided with under 1 minute to play. Green Bay trailed 18-0 with under two minutes to play.
  • Green Bay had 245 yards of offense while allowing 317. The Pats outgained the Cowboys 279-251.
  • Emmitt Smith averaged 3.8 yards per carry vs. the Pack, 3.1 vs. the Pats.
  • Aikman was 24-35 for 206 yards vs. the Pack, 16-28 for 169 w/ 2 INT's vs. the Pats.
  • Brett Favre was sacked 4 times. Bledsoe was not sacked.
  • The Packers defense recorded 1 sack, -1 yards. The Pats got Aikman 3 times, -25 yards.

Dear Ron Borges:

Why are the Pats "all done" while Green Bay is on their way to New Orleans? This makes no sense at all!

Big D in Big D...

The Dallas defense is ranked #1 in the NFL, but the Pats D was not outdone on this Sunday down in Dallas. When Walker returned a 1st quarter kickoff all the way to the Pats 19, Dallas went 14 yards and kicked a FG. When Darren Woodson intercepted Bledsoe and set up a 1st and goal Dallas at the 4, the Cowboys lost 7 yards on 3 plays and kicked another FG. That's 6 points, and there's your difference in the ballgame.

Ty Law was very effective on perennial all pro Michael Irvin. Law had two interceptions, one coming in the endzone. Aikman was sacked 3 times for the first time this season. 15 games, and the Pats had more sacks than anyone else against 4 "Pro Bowl" offensive lineman. Those same Honolulu bound giants allowed Emmitt Smith to gain only 3.1 yards per carry. The Pats 29th ranked defense against the pass limited Aikman to 169 yards (and had the two picks).

If the defense plays like this at home in January, it's gonna be Broncos - Pats II for the AFC Championship in Denver on January 11th or 12th. We may get another crack at Dallas on neutral turf!

Champs in the swamp...

With the loss to Dallas the Pats fell to 10-5 and must win in the Meadowlands next week to ensure a 1st round bye. I doubt Pittsburgh will win at Carolina, but that game is on Sunday. The Pats must take care of business on Saturday.

With all due respect to my regular Giant fan readers, I can't see the G-men getting in the Pats way of winning the AFC East. The Giants gave 0 effort in yesterday's loss to the 'Aints, and I can't see them getting up for the season finally. The Giants had their Super Bowl a few weeks ago with a huge win against the Cowboys. They have done little since.

It was December 30th, 1990 when Bill Parcells led his NFC East Champion Giants into Foxboro stadium to face the 1-14 Patriots who were coming of a 42-7 loss to the Jets and riding a 13 game losing streak. A sellout crowd of 60,410 came to see the game. 40,000 were Giants fans. When Jason Staurovsky missed a 40 yard FG with under a minute to play, the Giants came away with a 13-10 victory. Those Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. 6 years later the shoe is on the other foot. The Pats are the Champs and will face a downtrodden Giants team. I expect to see a lot of Pats fans in the stands. This Saturday the 21st, I'll be one of them.

The big picture...

As I write this, Buffalo is ahead of Miami 7-6. That game will be over by the time you read this, but the AFC playoff teams seem pretty well set. Denver, Pittsburgh, and New England look to be the three division champs. Buffalo and Indy look to be in as wild cards. I think the Chiefs have had it. Look for Jacksonville to sneak in as the 6th and final seed. I could be way off here with only one week to go, but here's how I see it in the AFC.

Week 1:
Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, Indianapolis at Buffalo.

Week 2:
If Jacksonville wins: Jacksonville at Denver, Indy/Buffalo at New England.
If Pittsburgh wins: Pittsburgh at New England, Indy/Buffalo at Denver.

Week 3:
AFC Championship Game: New England at Denver

Calling it...

Although my weekly picks section was short lived, my pre-season preview written last August has been pretty on the mark with a few exceptions. I called the AFC East almost exactly, and I had Denver and Pittsburgh in the West and Central. I seriously underestimated the two "expansion teams", and gave too much credit to the Falcons, but other than that I haven't been too far off. Take a look. There's a link to it on the Patriots Unofficial home page.

That's all for this week. Lets cheer the Pats onto victory in the Meadowlands!

P.S. Check out these other Pats home pages. It's good to know I'm not the only one who belongs in a padded cell!