Are the Patriots the Team to Beat in the NFL?
Before NFL Sunday week 10 kicks off tonight let’s go back to week 9 and look at a couple of things we can all take away:
- The Steelers are nothing without a HEALTHY Ben Roethlisberger
- The Vikings are back to reality with an offensive line that couldn’t protect a quarterback in Pop Warner
- The Seahawks and Panthers are definitely not that great this year
- The Dolphins should stick to running the ball
- The Cowboys and Raiders are definitely a toss up for the second best team in the league
- The best team in the NFL did not take the field in Week 9
The New England Patriots are hands down the best team in the NFL and I don’t think the argument is even close. They are flat out unbeatable right now, and with the rest of the competition in the AFC being rather nonexistent, I just don’t see any opposing team stopping the Patriots from heading to Houston this February for Super Bowl LI.
They’re a Complete Team
When it comes to the 2016-17 season, you’d be hard-pressed to find a handful of teams who are anywhere near as complete as the Patriots. Their offense is among the best in the league with weapons such as pro bowler and freak of nature Rob Gronkowski, effective slot receivers like Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, new acquisitions Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett (both are fitting the scheme nicely). The Patriots also have a solid running back in LeGarrette Blount who is doing everything he is supposed to, and an offensive line who can actually give their quarter back enough time to pass. They have a defense which is really underrated even with the loss of Jamie Collins. Defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia leads the way. His secondary includes: Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Patrick Chung, and Devin McCourty.
People easily forget how effectively the Patriots defense can shut down an opposing team’s passing game. On the front side with Dont’a Hightower (one of the best linebackers in the game) and the defensive line, the Patriots remain a tough team to put up points against. The special teams has always been one of the best in the business with Matthew Slater leading the way, and don’t believe Stephen Gostkowski’s woes will last long as he has always been sure footed. Having the best quarterback to ever play doesn’t hurt your chances, as this team is complete and knows how to win.
The Greatest Quarterback of All-time
I probably should not have started another argument within this article as this is not the main point I am trying to get across but I’d like to reiterate that Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever play the game, and the scariest part about it is that he is 39 years old and appears to be getting better with age. Since coming back from the most ridiculous suspension in the history of the NFL, Brady has put up unreal statistics: 1319 yards passing, 12 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and a passer rating of 133.9. He leads the NFL in Total QBR at 91.3. These are MVP caliber numbers for this season and the guy has only played in four games. For those of you who claim not to believe in stats feel free to tune into a game this season and watch him pick apart defenses as if the opponent were a high school team. I don’t know how long Tom Brady will be in the NFL or how long he will be effective but as of right now nobody is doing it better than him. I know many of you don’t like the guy, however, there is no way you can deny his body of work.
Bill “easy going” Belichick
Watching this man give a post-game interview is rather funny or annoying depending on the person, but watching him coach the Patriots is simply beautiful. The man is a genius. I don’t know how he does it but week in and week out he puts his team in a position to win. Many say it was only due to Brady but I think he silenced those critics just a little bit when he coached his team to a 3-1 record without his starting quarterback, or maybe when he did the same thing in 2008 going 11-5 with backup quarterback Matt Cassel at the helm after Brady suffered a torn ACL. I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems to know exactly what to do at exactly the right time. The best part about it is that he never shows emotion, he simply coaches. Although he doesn’t show emotion often, he has before and with the way this season is looking I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few months you see Bill cheesing on the podium hoisting the Lombardi trophy.
I felt the need to write a segment on Josh McDaniels because people always seem to overlook him. He was with the Patriots from 2001-2008 and then rejoined the organization in 2012 and has been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach ever since. This seems to slide under the radar mainly because people think Tom Brady is the person calling the plays or Bill Belichick but they aren’t. McDaniels conjures up a new offensive scheme each and every week to defeat teams. One week maybe the opposing team has a weak rush defense so he will hand the ball to LeGarrette Blount more than usual. The next the team has a soft secondary so he will design plays for Tom Brady to expose them. Regardless of the team, Josh McDaniels always prepares his offense to pick apart opposing defenses and he does a damn good job. My only question is why hasn’t any team given this man a second chance at a starting coaching job. I mean after all, if Chip Kelly has a job, why not give McDaniels a shot?
The 2016-17 NFL Season
The biggest reason why the road to a victory in Super Bowl LI could be easier than ever for the Patriots is because there aren’t a high number of good teams in the NFL today, and very few teams who can compete with the Patriots (especially not in the AFC). Many might think the Broncos have a chance to repeat, while I highly doubt it. The Broncos have solid defense, unfortunately, Trevor Siemian, a seventh rounder who is not the next Brady, is their starting quarterback.
Then there’s the Chiefs who are decent but remember they lost to the Texans and got destroyed by the Steelers. I can guarantee the Chiefs will be plagued by a devastating injury or Alex Smith will purely choke in the playoffs. The Colts and Texans are simply irrelevant as the Patriots have already embarrassed the Texans with a third string quarterback while the Colts just don’t look very good. That leaves us with the Raiders and Steelers. The Steelers need a healthy Roethlisberger to be relevant, and by the time he is fully healthy, someone else will be gone. As for the Raiders, they are good team. They look like the second best team in the NFL but so did the Vikings for a while. All i’m saying is lets see how long it lasts before we go making assumptions.
As week 10 draws to an end, the despised New England Patriots will continue to have the AFC in the bag.