BOSTON (CBS) – WFAN’s Boomer Esiason called yesterday’s 41-7 win at Baltimore the Patriots’ best defensive performance of the year.
And what made it all the more impressive was that it came against a team that were winners of four straight games and playing like vintage “playoff mode” Ravens.
Esiason is predicting another meeting between the AFC favorite Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots in the conference championship game, and the blueprint to beating Peyton Manning and company was laid out yesterday at M&T Bank Stadium.
“If you’re going to beat the Denver Broncos, that’s exactly how you have to play. You have to go into Denver and play a game like they did yesterday. You have to run the ball, you have to be efficient with your passing game. You can’t have any turnovers and your defense has to make plays. That’s the recipe,” said Esiason.
Esiason recalled a conversation he had earlier in the season on NFL Today with the other experts on the panel, and the question was which quarterback was having the better season: Peyton Manning or Tom Brady?
Taking everything into consideration, Esiason believes that 2013 might be Bill Belichick’s and Tom Brady’s best season ever.
“At that point in time there was no Shane Vereen, there was no Rob Gronkowski. [Aaron] Hernandez was in jail, [Danny] Amendola was hurt, and somehow they won football games. It wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t exciting. It was a grind.”
“To be able to do it and be where they [Belichick and Brady] are today, I think maybe both men are having two of their best years ever – even though the numbers don’t reflect it. This is a team that has a culture of winning. They know what it takes to win,” said Boomer.
The Brady/Belichick formula has helped give the team 11 wins so far, but Esiason wonders whether or not this will translate into playoff success. The CBS Sports analyst still has his doubts about the Patriots Super Bowl chances.
Speaking of Super Bowl chances, the conversation shifted to the NFC and which teams from that conference are poised to make a run.
Boomer believes the NFC’s best both reside in the west, and that the Seahawks and 49ers are the cream of the crop. He also likes what he sees out of Carolina, but doesn’t think Cam Newton is quite ready to take that next step for the Panthers.
Listen below for the full discussion: