FOXBOROUGH- The word ‘undefeated’ is one that is not taken lightly in New England, as they have gone down this road once before. The 2007 New England Patriots ran the table in the regular season, only to finish their season without the Lombardi Trophy in hand.
Coming into the season, the expectations of the Patriots were not all that great, as they were, at the time, preparing to go without Tom Brady for 4 games. Jimmy Garoppolo, drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, was ready to drive the team until Judge Berman nullified the Brady suspension on September 3rd.
Brady, who has played every game this year, leads the NFL in passing yards (3,320), passing touchdowns (25), and passer rating (107.4) entering week 11. He is having an MVP caliber year, and quite possibly the best year of his career, leading the Patriots to a so far perfect 10-0 record. This seems to be one of the best Patriots teams in history, already drawing comparisons to the 2007 Patriots squad that featured a Randy Moss and Tom Brady duo that shattered records during the regular season as Moss tallied 23 receiving touchdowns from the arm of Brady.
The New England Patriots have a primetime game on Sunday night on the road versus Denver. Denver has recently been having problems with their Quarterback play as Peyton Manning has struggled this season statistically and with an injury. Tom Brady in his career is 11-5 vs Peyton Manning, but it will be Brock Osweiler that gets the start this week. However, the New England receiving corps is down to Brandon LaFell, undrafted free agent Chris Harper, core special teamer Matthew Slater, and Keshawn Martin who has been out since week 6. Still, expect the same trend that has happened with Peyton. Chalk it up to a win for New England.
The Patriots are back home the next week to face a Philadelphia Eagles team. The last time these two teams met was back in November of 2011 when the Patriots won in a laugher by 18 points, as Brady threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. A December game in Foxborogh? That seems like a tall task for the Eagles especially if they can’t find a way to slow down Tom Brady and company. Not to mention, the Eagles have allowed a combined 90 points the last two weeks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions.
The Patriots next two games in December are versus the AFC South as they face the Texans in Houston, and then the Titans at Gillette Stadium. The AFC South has been very lackluster this season, the Texans are currently tied with the Colts atop the division with 4 wins apiece, and the Titans have a dismal 2 win all year. The Patriots should be concerned with the likings of J.J Watt and their reunion with longtime Patriot, Vince Wilfork. Recently, the Patriots offensive line has been rather depleted, but heading into week 11, the Patriots eye the returns of Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, and Tre’ Jackson all of whom have had a significant role in pass protection this year. With the big names coming of the injury list this week, it looks as though New England won’t have a problem sweeping the AFC South this year.
The Patriots head on the road for their final two showcases of the regular season as they travel to New York to square off against the Jets, and finally to Miami to face the Dolphins. The Jets matchup could be a tricky one as it is on the road facing a secondary without the talents of Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis. The Patriots will need to execute in all three phases of the game to win, but the Jets will need to put up a significant amount of points and play to near perfection to beat the Patriots. New England has won 8 of the last 9 match ups, but the Jets always play the Patriots tough. Look for this game to be one of New England’s toughest tests heading into the playoffs. For the last game of the year, the Patriots will face off against Miami. Throughout the recent weeks Miami has looked dreary. Miami is currently at the bottom of the division sitting at 4-5 and it looks as though they won’t be able to stop New England’s high octane offense especially if New England is eyeing the return receiver of Julian Edelman.
So here we see that the Patriots remaining regular season games aren’t the toughest, but you never know what is going to happen in the game of football. About the Playoffs- it is way too early to start predicting, but no AFC team seems too daunting, and with the Packers and Seahawks going through pains in the NFC, it looks as the New England Patriots aren’t going to be slowed down for quite a while.