When it comes to football, Patriots fans have plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
With Week 11 in the books, the Patriots yet again proved to the NFL world that they are a cut above, manhandling the Raiders south of the border in Mexico City, 33-8.
With high altitude on the horizon for that game, Bill Belichick elected to keep his team in Colorado Springs after the win in Denver to prepare for the Raiders.
The Patriots basically just ate, drank, and breathed football together for a week straight. And that showed on the football field as they jumped out to an early lead and piled it on the rest of the way.
It’s New England’s sixth straight win and 13th straight road win dating back to last season, which is a team record. The win also guarantees the Patriots will finish with a record of .500 or above for the 17th straight year, making them the only team in the NFL to do that over that span. The record is 21 by the Dallas Cowboys (1965-85).
Not coincidentally, Sunday’s win was also the sixth straight game in which the opponent was held to 17 points or less.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Raiders came into the game with their offensive line having the third-highest pass blocking efficiency. But you wouldn’t know it based on the way the Patriots played on defense. Raiders QB Derek Carr was under pressure on 24-percent of his dropbacks and had a passer rating of just 24.8 on these plays as he completed just 5 of his 11 attempts.
The big win over the Raiders is the latest example that the Patriots are getting stronger as the season goes on. A quick look around the league and the same cannot be said for many teams that were once considered threats.
The Broncos dropped to 3-7 after another loss at home to the Bengals. Meanwhile, the Chiefs, formerly the team to beat in the AFC, fell to 6-4 on the season after an ugly 12-9 loss to the Giants. And we now know that the Packers are nothing without Aaron Rodgers.
There are, however, some teams continuing to play good football. The Steelers at 8-2 remain the Patriots’ biggest threat in the AFC, with those two teams meeting in a month. In the NFC, the Saints haven’t lost since the Patriots beat them in Week 2, and the Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 9-1 behind QB Carson Wentz.
But the Patriots aren’t concerned with any team but their own, and should continue to improve and rack up the wins with upcoming games against the Dolphins and Bills.
“Well, I think the players have worked extremely hard,” Bill Belichick told reporters in a conference call on Monday. “We've had our moments. There's still a lot of things that we need to work on and need to improve in. Each game gets a little more demanding because you're opponent has had another week of things that you know they've shown and you have to work on, and so the volume builds up. Of course, our volume has built up over the last ten weeks, too. We just have to keep grinding away week by week, and that's what we'll try to do.”