I don't think the Pats can do it and I'll argue with any FanNation user who disagrees. Here are my key reasons.
- The Patriots will sit starters. If they go 15-0, they visit the Giants in Week 17. New York will almost certainly be playing for playoff position, and New England will have nothing at stake. As heartless as Bill Belichick is, he won't risk injuries for a record that is insignificant if they don't win the Super Bowl. Belichick has benched starters in similar situations through the years.
- They face the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked defenses in the NFL: Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The Colts proved you can get to Tom Brady, and they didn't need to blitz much to do it. The Ravens and Steelers will come up with creative ways to rush the passer and they'll try to rattle Randy Moss with big hits. Brady led Moss into some dangerous territory against Indy. Moss bounced off smallish Indy defenders like they were gnats. Not sure if he'll have the same luck against Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
- The target on their back is even bigger. On paper, none of these teams should beat the Patriots. But emotionally, you have to give New England's opponents an edge. How long can Belichick convince his team everyone is against him because of Spy-gate? The Pats are now the evil empire. They're the new New York Yankees or Duke Blue Devils.
- Injuries. They haven't had many. That will change. It always does.
- Strange things happen in the NFL. Not a great reason, but for my money, it's the most compelling. The Patriots were vying with the Colts for homefield last season and got shut out by the Dolphins in Week 14. Explain that. Other teams that have gone late into the season undefeated have lost games they shouldn't have. New England won't prove to be an exception.