Different season, same ol' Pats

Updated: December 21, 2006, 4:06 PM ET
The New England Patriots are 10-4 and leading the AFC East going into the final two games of the season. Still, a lot of people are asking, "What's wrong with the Pats?" The fact that New England will win its fifth divisional title in the last six years is something Patriots fans are used to. What they're not used to, though, is how the Pats have done it.

Tom Brady
Over the past five seasons, the Patriots and their fans are used to being on top. Except for 2002, when the Jets edged them for the division title, the Pats have been the king of the East. QB Tom Brady has been a 60-percent-plus passer, with an almost two-to-one ratio of touchdowns to interceptions. Patriots fans are used to an effective ground game with the top two backs each averaging four yard per carry (except for 2003 and 2005, when the running game was sub-par for a Bill Belichick-coached team).

Patriots fans are used to a solid defense against both the run and the pass and putting effective pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They're used to Belichick-coached defenses adjusting to play a bend-but-don't-break defense that always gives them a chance in close games. Patriots fans are used to having (arguably) the best pressure kicker in the league in Adam Vinatieri, who continually hit with great accuracy to win games.