FOXBORO — I know what you’re thinking this morning, New England Patriots fans, after another exhibition-caliber opponent.
We have all been witnessed to this before, mauling the competition in September and October.
Can the Patriots, 35-14 winners last night over the New York Giants, do it?
Can they be ... gulp! ... perfect?
Of course they can.
Let’s think about it a bit:
Beat the N.Y. Jets, another “JV” team, in 11 days on Monday night at the Meadowlands and then shut up those once-cocky Cleveland Browns and your Patriots are halfway home at 8-0.
Other than an interesting month of games, after the bye week, from Nov. 17 to Dec. 8 — at Philadelphia, Dallas, at Houston and Kansas City — it is doable.
With this defense, which has allowed only three touchdowns in six games? You bet.
There is a better question, though: Is it worth it?
Surprisingly, according to Bill Belichick: Nope.
Belichick was quoted talking about the 2007 run and admitted “It probably would have been better off” if the Patriots had lost a game.
Translation: Our obsession with running over the NFL, after the Spygate joke, probably took way, way too much energy to sustain. We ran out of gas when it counted most.
I get it. The 2007 Patriots, having their head coach’s back, wanted to send a message to the NFL. They didn’t want to win, or rub it in a little. They wanted to destroy their way to the record book.
They wanted to shut up those braggadocios, champagne guzzling ex-Miami Dolphins from 1973.
They almost completed the feat. They almost won. But in the end they lost to an inferior team with a great defensive line, a great game plan and a one-hit wonder at wide receiver.
If you really want to get technical about it, “undefeated” sort of goes against everything Belichick stands for.
A “perfect” season is about the look. And going 19-0 would’ve looked special beyond belief. It’s quite a stat.
We all know Belichick’s thoughts on stats: “Stats are for losers.”
Belichick is about competing for, and winning, championships. The regular season is there, as Tiger Woods says about non-majors, as preparation for The Big One.
As for looking good, all you have to do is look at his sideline attire.
There’s enough drama in a season — see 1 Patriot Place early this fall — without the added drama chasing a perfect season would bring.
What happens when you are undefeated in late November? Expectations grow. The pressure from outside, as much as Belichick’s likes to repel it, can be overwhelming.
And the other teams? They have nothing to lose. They can “go for the fences” or “send the troops” and have fun doing it.
This is not to say you want to lose or, even worse, try to lose. But living and dying on an October or November regular season game is overrated.
The Patriots have finished 11-5 three times over the Belichick-Brady Era. Guess what? They won two of their six Super Bowls, including their first and last, at 11-5.
It’s tough for a coach, even Belichick, to tell his team they are overrated when they have peeled off so many big wins with no end in sight. They would tune him out.
That being said, Belichick is the master at focus; turning the page; and moving “on to Cincinnati.”
Nobody, at least in modern American professional sports, has “moved on” better.
But if you ask me, if this winning continues for another month or two, which it could, losing to Cincinnati on Dec. 15, as funny as that would be, might not be a bad thing.
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.