Yet all we need to remember is the piece Shank wrote back in January -- headlined "Championship Days are All Over for the Patriots" -- where he predicted:
They are not good enough to win championships. When you have a roster of smurf wideouts, young defenders, undrafted free agents, and guys cut loose by other teams, eventually you come up against somebody with better players, somebody who is not going to wet his pants at the sight of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. It happens every year.
[W]hen they get to the end of next season, they will not have won a Super Bowl for 10 years.
So today's lesson, following seven straight W's, is "Can we start the playoffs now? The 2014 Patriots have taken the regular-season test and they have passed."
Remind me: Was it only mid September when The CHB called the Patriots' offense "a raft of low-grade receivers?" (Yes.)
Is "smurf wideout" Julian Eddleman still the team's leading receiver? (Yes.)
Is the defense suiting up five rookies, with only two members of the secondary over the age of 25? (Yes.)
Did "guy cut loose by other teams" LeGarrette Blount run for 78 yards and two touchdowns yesterday, just one week after "guy cut loose by other teams" and "undrafted free agent" Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards and four TDs? (Yes.)
Does The CHB wonder why Bill Belichick (correctly) looks down on sportswriters? (He should.)