An excellent and thorough ass kicking last night and now the road to the Super Bowl goes through New England.

(Right now anyway.)

The Patriots defeated the Broncos 43-21 behind stellar play by all three phases of the game. I hate to sound like a boring coach at the podium, but it's true!

In order to win this game the Patriots defense was going to have to play exceptional...and they did. Turnovers, smothering man to man defense at times, and big hits all had a hand in the victory. It was pretty incredible to witness. We have not seen a defense like that in years.

On the other side of the ball, the offense did their part putting up crazy numbers. I was talking to the Shark Morning Show about this earlier today; what we're seeing from Gronkowski right now is legendary. It's like the 2008 Celtics, the 2007 Patriots, David Ortiz circa 2004, and Pedro Martinez '99. He is always the best player on the field and can take over games at any moment.

Like when he does this...

SB Nation

One more time.

SB Nation

And again.

SB Nation

If the Patriots can take care of business, they'll have home field advantage throughout. It's not going to be easy though with games against the Colts, Packers, Chargers (maybe tough), and Dolphins (can you believe it?!?).

#Manningface

Getty Images/Jim Rogash