Last year heading into Week 10 the Patriots were entering the bye week at 7-2 and FULL of power after beating the high-flying Broncos, 43-24. This year's 8-0 squad is about to face it's toughest stretch of the season: at the Giants, home vs. the Bills and then at Denver. Once they get through that stretch, it brings us to December, and we all know how the Patriots perform in December.
With one eye squinting ahead to home-field advantage in the playoffs, the Cincinnati Bengals are right up there with New England at 8-0. Cincy's next three games are: home against Houston, at Arizona, and home vs. the Rams. It will be a challenge for the Patriots to keep up, but this team seems to have that mental toughness Tom Brady values so fervently. I know I'm hooked. Can't wait for Sunday.
Around the AFC East:
Patriots (8-0) at NY Giants (3-4)
NY Jets (5-3) vs. Buffalo (4-4)
Miami (3-5) vs. Philadelphia (4-4)
Notable AFC Matchups:
Cincinnati (8-0) vs. Houston (3-5)
Denver (7-1) vs. Kansas City (3-5)
Pittsburgh (5-4) vs. Cleveland (2-7)
Oakland (4-4) vs. Minnesota (6-2)
Baltimore (2-6) vs. Jacksonville (2-6)
Tennessee (2-6) vs. Carolina (8-0)
Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) ranks them 1st: Without Dion Lewis, they might start winning more games by fewer than 10 points.
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) ranks them 1st: Losing Dion Lewis is a tough blow, but they have plenty of other guys to make their offense go. Tom Brady will just rely more on LeGarrette Blount to keep them on target for a perfection hunt.
ESPN Experts rank them 1st: The Patriots are 8-0, but in Week 10 they play the Giants, a team that has a knack for ruining their seasons. The Giants have won their past three games against the Patriots, including two Super Bowls.
Mark Maske (Washington Post) ranks them 1st: The win over the Redskins was routine. It wasn’t as dominating as the 52-7 triumph the last time the Redskins visited Foxborough, Mass., with the Patriots in a post-scandal frenzy in 2007. But it never was in doubt. Even so, the constant patching together of lineups along the offensive line has remained problematic for the Patriots and the loss of RB Dion Lewis to a season-ending knee injury will hurt. He was a reliable receiver out of the backfield.
The AP Pro32 ranks them 1st.
Chris Burke (SI) ranks then 1st: The internal candidates to replace Dion Lewis, whose remarkable comeback season was interrupted by an ACL tear, include James White, Brandon Bolden and practice-squadder Joey Iosefa. The external candidates include any running back whom you had forgotten was in the league but somehow would be a perfect fit for Bill Belichick’s offense.
Danny Kelly (SB Nation) ranks them 1st: New England is motoring along, nonchalantly dispatching opponents with businesslike efficiency and a cold, robotic affect. This week it was Washington in their path, and Kirk Cousins and company presented little opposition for the Patriots juggernaut. New England switched things up this week with a more balanced approach, rushing the ball 37 times (mainly with LaGarrette Blount) to go with Tom Brady's 299 yards passing. They lost Dion Lewis for the season to an ACL injury, which might actually be the biggest piece of adversity they've faced thus far. I'm guessing they'll respond by finding some new random dude to light it up in their offense.
Dan Schneier (Fox Sports) ranks them 1st: Replacing running back Dion Lewis (ACL) may be difficult, but, then again, this is Bill Belichick and the Patriots that we’re talking about. Will they lose this season? View season trend.
Frank Schwab (Shutdown Corner) ranks them 1st: Make no mistake, the Dion Lewis injury is a huge blow. He played a really important role in the offense. If James White takes that spot, he hasn't shown anything in the NFL that would lead one to believe he can replace Lewis. Between that and the offensive line injuries, at some point the offense might slow down just a little.
Peter King (The MMQB) ranks them 1st: The Patriots travel to New Jersey to meet their Kryptonite on Sunday. The Giants and Patriots have faced each other four times with Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick on the sidelines, and with Tom Brady and Eli Manning quarterbacking. Giants 3, Patriots 1 ... including two Super Bowls won by the Giants.
Elliot Harrison (NFL.com) ranks them 1st: The train keeps a rollin' ... unfortunately, without Dion Lewis. Terrible injury for the Patriots and especially for Lewis, who had authored one of the cool stories of 2015, transforming from a nowheresville running back into the best third-down back in pro football. On a lighter note, I enjoyed Jimmy Johnson's explanation of New England's onside kick in Sunday's win over Washington during the FOX halftime show. The silver-haired legend said Bill Belichick was practicing for later in the year. You know, like something you do when you're up 45-3. Except New England was only up 7-0 in the first quarter.
Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports) ranks them 1st: You know all about the offense, averaging 34.5 points and over 420 yards per game. But the defense is allowing just 17.9 points per game and are getting after the QB with 27 sacks in 8 games (2nd in NFL).
Reddit ranks them 1st: Bloody Sunday caught up with the Patriots this week, and it left bodies strewn around the field. Particularly upsetting were the end of Dion Lewis's breakout season and Sebastian Vollmer's possible concussion. However, as the Pats prepare for the always tricky NY Giants, there is something Pats fans can feel good about. Stephen "I am a Ghost" Gostkowski is 19 for 19 on FGs, 31 for 31 on PATs, and 1 for 1 on onside kicks this season.
Brent Sobleski (Bleacher Report) ranks them 1st: After an 8-0 start, the New England Patriots now face the New York Giants. The obvious storyline of Eli Manning ruining another perfect Patriots season will certainly be discussed ad nauseam, but the likelihood of it occurring certainly isn't in the Giants' favor.
Lorenzo Reyes (USA Today) ranks them 1st: If they wind up going undefeated, they'll earn it. Pats don't face another team with sub-.500 record until Dec. 13.
Sean Mason (Spark Sports) ranks them 1st: The Patriots continue to roll after winning 27-10 on Sunday over the Redskins. Brandon Lafell got back on track, finishing with five catches and 102 yards. I would say this was the worst the Patriots have looked all season on offense and, despite this, they still scored 27 points easily. The team has scored in an NFL record 31 straight quarters. The one low spot for the Patriots is the loss of Dion Lewis, who is out of the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Despite this awful news, I still believe the Patriots will finish 16-0.
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports) ranks them 1st: They just keep getting better by the week. Have they even been challenged?.
Tire Rack (Rant Sports) ranks them 1st: In what may have been the most predictable game from Sunday, the New England Patriots had little trouble getting by the Redskins to remain undefeated on the season. With the way Tom Brady is playing, it's tough to imagine the Patriots actually losing a game this season.
AVERAGE RANK: 1.0