BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots can clinch the AFC East with a win over the Browns and a Dolphins loss to Pittsburgh, but winning the division is nothing new for the Patriots.
Success is measured with championships in these parts, and with some inconsistent play and injuries piling up on defense, the question remains if the Patriots can even win the AFC.
Rosevelt Colvin joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Friday and said the Patriots are certainly capable of winning the AFC, but the pressure will be on Tom Brady to lead the way.
“I think they’re capable of winning the AFC with the defense, but it puts pressure on Tom and the offense similar (to 2011 in Indianapolis). They got to the (Super Bowl) but couldn’t get it done because they didn’t have the corner support to play extravagant defense or man (defense),” said Colvin. “That put (Giants QB Eli Manning) in a situation where he’s just sitting back there and patting the ball because (the Patriots) didn’t have a pass-rush.”
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“Everyone hoped over the next couple years they would evolve and get that corner — get back to playing Patriots defense. They did that, but then you get injuries,” he said. “Vince goes down, Mayo goes down, Talib is in and out of the lineup, and you’re back to square one using guys you really want to use on special teams in your normal defense.”
“So Tom has the burden of carrying the load, not that he can’t,” said Colvin. “I think it’s been beneficial that at the beginning of the season he had young receivers and the offense was developing and growing. That was very good for him.”
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“I say yes, [they can win the AFC], but against the powerhouse of the NFC, I think we saw what can happen against a mobile quarterback. That’s going to be a difficult situation,” said Colvin. “Even if the Patriots do make it to the Super Bowl, they’ll face a team that can run the ball effectively. It’s going to be a tough road, but it can be done,” he said. “It’s just a matter of executing on game day.”
Colvin also gave his take on the NFC, and if anyone can beat the Seahawks in Seattle: