And just like that, another regular season in the books. Now it’s time to actually start paying attention to the Patriots and get involved. The Patriots exceeded everybody’s expectations this season by posting an impressive 14-2 overall record, while also going 8-0 on the road, something only six other franchises have done before. Before we head onto a playoff bye week, let’s take a second to look back on what was one of the more surprising Patriot seasons in recent memory.

The season started with the greatest quarterback of all time not even on the premises of Patriot Place. The long, exhausting back and forth battle of Deflategate finally ended and Brady was given a four game suspension. But during those four games the Patriots really showed that they are more than just a quarterback, going a very solid 3-1 with good wins over (at the time) “really good” Houston Texan and Arizona Cardinal teams. One blemish coming from a Jacoby Brissett-led rare loss at home to the Bills. Clearly proving to be a fluke game after Brady and Co. went to Buffalo and took care of business later on in the year.

Brady’s suspension was lifted after Week 4 and he made his season debut against the Browns in Believeland. Brady did what Brady does and was nearly perfect, showing that if anything the time off was just more fuel for his fire and allowed him more time to prepare for the season. Brady never looked back after the Cleveland game throwing for 3,554 yards with a 112.2 passer rating, along with an NFL record 28 touchdowns to two interceptions, the best ratio in NFL history. The Patriots had more starting quarterbacks this year than interceptions. Think about that.

Not to be outdone by the offense this year, the defense has also been very, very solid. Hightower and Co. were Top 10 in all major defensive categories, but number one in the most important: points allowed. The Pats defense allowed a league lowest 250 points this season. You can point out all the crazy sabermetric stats you want, but at the end of the day the team that allows the least amount of points is going to win, and the Patriots did just that. Also shout out to Devin McCourtey, really showed that he’s an elite safety this year.

Now on to the second season:

The AFC playoff picture is set and there is not one team for the Patriots to worry about. Derek Carr is out with a broken leg, so Oakland can kiss the Super Bowl dreams goodbye. Baltimore and Denver both crumbled late in the season, so our Achilles Heels are now a non-factor. Everyone keeps pointing to Pittsburgh, but let’s be honest, when was the last time the Steelers beat us in a meaningful game? And to top it all off the Pats locked up home field advantage so the road to Houston goes through Foxborough. Sorry AFC, maybe next year.

The NFC on the other hand scares me a little more. Like I said a few weeks ago on DWTV, I am still so scared of the Giants. There’s something about Eli Manning that worries me. He’s so inconsistent that it’s impossible to draw up a full proof game plan for him. Some games he’s the best quarterback on the planet, and other games he’s no better than Geno Smith. Hands down the last team I want to see in Houston. Seattle and Green Bay are both very good teams, but have proven to be very streaky this year, so I’m not overly concerned about them. However with that said, they both have Super Bowl rings behind center, so when it comes down to being a gamer, they know how to get it done.

So after 17 weeks, we finally have some meaningful Patriot football! Buckle up baby it’s about to be a extremely smooth bumpy ride to Houston!

P.S. Don’t sleep on Atlanta, Falcons are sneaky going to make it to the NFC Championship game.

P.P.S. MVP of the Patriots season? Ryan Allen. By far the most consistently good player for the Pats all season long.