The Patriots are back in the leaders’ position in the race to the Super Bowl.
Yup, that defense that was regarded as “worst in the NFL” earlier this month is currently decent enough, I guess, to win it all in this bizarre NFL season.
The Patriots offense, which has put up a measly 22.0 points per game in its last three games, is decent enough, I guess, to win it all.
The Pats are set to win this ugly league by default this season, in that they’re one of the few teams that has slightly risen above mediocrity.
Record-wise, there are seven teams in the AFC right now with four or five wins: the Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, Steelers, Titans, Jaguars and Chiefs. The Pats have already lost to one team on that list, the Chiefs, and still have to play the Bills twice, the Dolphins twice, and the Steelers once – in Pittsburgh.
The Pats face the hottest team in the AFC this coming Sunday in the LA Chargers (3-4), who have won three games in a row and have three losses this season by a margin of three points or less. In other words, the Chargers probably belong in the slightly above mediocre group mentioned above.
After the Chargers game, the Pats have a bye, then play at Denver (3-3) and at Oakland (3-4). The Steelers game, which could very well be for the top seed in the AFC, is Dec. 17. The Pats close out their regular season on New Years Eve against the Jets, who are actually putting up a fight this year, and scattered in between now and then are their home and away dates with the Dolphins and Bills.
So, all told, the Pats don’t have one easy game the rest of the season. If you’re the glass half full type, though, there’s not a date on that schedule that the Pats should lose.
That game after the bye week at Denver – typically the Pats’ house of horrors – is no longer intimidating. The Pats’ resurgent defense should have a field day with Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler as the Broncos offense has averaged a pathetic 10.5 points per game in its past four games.
Winning in Mexico City against the Raiders will be tough the week after, but it’s far from impossible. The Raiders are a team that has already suffered through a four-game losing streak this season (lost at Washington, at Denver, at home to Baltimore and at home to the Chargers) and their defense is highly suspect. Oakland is currently No. 23 in the league in passing yards allowed and is 19th in the league against the run.
You’ll hear a ton about how brutal the Pats’ schedule is the rest of the way in the coming days, but as a great man one mumbled, “ignore the noise.”
There is absolutely no reason why a team quarterbacked by Tom Brady and coached by Bill Belichick can’t run the table on this feast of football feces.
Even though it looks like an 11-5 record could get the top overall seed in the AFC this year, the Pats can and will strive for better.