But not before he tries to belittle owner Bob Kraft again (new winter fashion - out goes 'high chair'; in goes 'lifeguard chair'. Gee, I wonder why he changed that?):
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The 11-3 Patriots fully expected to beat the 3-11 Jets Sunday. I don’t want to say there was any lack of urgency, but Bob Kraft didn’t even bother bringing his lifeguard chair for this one.Further down the column, Shank half-cleverly disguises his second guessing:
With Kraft and Jon Bon Jovi watching from standard elevation in a luxury box, the Patriots made the necessary plays in a 17-16 victory that guarantees they don’t have to play a game during the first weekend of the playoffs.
If the Bengals can beat the Broncos in Cincinnati Monday night, the Patriots would clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
That said, here’s what I’m wondering: In the wake of a narrow road victory against a bad team, do you feel better or worse about the Patriots’ chances to break their decade-long Super Bowl drought? Let’s examine the cases for better and/or worse:Not having declared better or worse himself, Shank carves out maximum wiggle room to a) stay on the bandwagon if the Patriots keep winning or b) write the mother of all negative Patriots columns if they lose.