The Patriots are heading to the AFC Championship Game for the third straight year and for the eighth time overall since Tom Brady became the starting quarterback.
New England has won five of the previous seven trips to the conference title game, making them as successful a team as there’s been in the NFL over that stretch of time but Brady isn’t feeling like a favorite right now. During an appearance on WEEI on Monday, Brady embraced the role of underdog ahead of this week’s trip to Denver for a shot at a sixth trip to the Super Bowl.
“I know when we played Baltimore no one picked us to win and no one’s gonna pick us to win this week,” Brady said. “We’ve had our backs against the wall for a while, really the whole season. We’ve lost players and teams have really counted us out. We’ve got a bunch of underdogs on our team and we’ll be underdogs again. We’ll see how that shakes out at the end of the week.”
The Patriots are underdogs, but there will be plenty of people picking them this week. Whether it is because they believe in Bill Belichick’s ability to come up with a scheme that can slow Peyton Manning, think the revival of the running game in New England has made the Patriots more dangerous offensively or remember that the Patriots have already beaten the Broncos this season, New England will have its fair share of supporters.
Brady’s comments suggest that any such support won’t get in the way of the narrative that’s under construction in New England, though.