The Patriots could fall into the same trap as the Colts. Over the past decade, the AFC rivals have been remarkably similar. Great QB, veteran possesion receiver, running backs that are mediocre and take a back role. The Colts are so horrible this year because, with all those late first round picks thanks to winning seasons by Manning, they could never stockpile more star talent. I see the Patriots falling in the same trap. They lost Brady two seasons ago, but Matt Cassel was still a very good quarterback who earned himself a starting job in Kansas City with that performance. They also had Randy Moss, the best wide receiver in football, and a decent defense. I believe Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet are far superior to Curtis Painter and Dan Orlosvky. No personal knock on either of them, as the both had the talent to make it to the NFL, but it wouldn’t take much to be better than those two. But still, Deion Branch is old, Wes Welker would fall into the same trap as Reggie Wayne, a great receiver with a horrid quarterback dragging him down. Shane Vereen has great potential, but Danny Woodhead, Kevin Faulk, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis (despite his awesome name) are worse or equal to Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, and Delone Carter. In baseball, the superpowers fall and rise, but mostly wax and wane slowly, so you don’t notice it at first. Look at the Astros. They went to the World Series in ’05, but 6 years later they have the worst record in the league. But in Football, seemingly indestructable monoliths have their legs cut out from underneath them and perpetual cellar-dwellars can be transformed with 1 great Quarterback coming in on a 1st round pick or a great coach inspiring the players and righting the ship. I mean, how could the Colts stink? They have the best Quarterback in the game, a certain Hall of Famer who is one of the greatest of all time and has the record for most MVP awards! Oh, wait. He’s hurt. The Colts just fell off a cliff, and the 49ers have risen to the second best record in the league. people said, How are they going to win with Alex Smith? He’s a bust! Frank Gore’s injury prone, and their only decent player is Patrick Willis! But now? With Jim Harbaugh? Smith’s efficient, he’s one of the TOP 10 passers in the NFC, Frank Gore is great, and Navorro Bowman (who no one had heard about before this season) is almost as good as Willis. The Pats are 8-3, maybe the best team in the AFC, and all because of one man: Tom Brady. The Colts may have saved their hide by expsoing them to what happens when you lose your Hall of Fame QB. It’s not pretty.