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Mike Lombardi: Patriots played “best game” against 49ers, AFC North better than AFC West

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The former Patriots executive shed some light on the Patriots performance this week.

Former New England Patriots executive Michael Lombardi joined Fox Sports 1 to discuss the Patriots’ week 11 performance against the 49ers, along with which teams the Patriots are nervous about in the AFC.

“I think the Patriots played their best game [Sunday] from a complete game standpoint,” Lombardi said. “I thought they played their best defense, they had three-and-outs which is unheard of. Now they still can’t turn the ball over, but they got three-and-outs. It’s 13-10 game and they got a three-and-out and the pressure was on them to do it. They rushed the passer more effectively and they actually covered.”

“I thought they played a complete game without Gronk and I think Dion Lewis back really is a difference in what their offense is,” Lombardi added. “And I think if they have Dion back, they’re a completely different team.”

Lombardi rolled his eyes at detractors saying that the 49ers are a bad team and that the Patriots shouldn’t get credit for their performance. The Giants are being lauded as contenders after cleaning up on the 2-8 Bears, Lombardi noted. Why shouldn’t the Patriots get credit for taking care of business against the 1-9 49ers?

Lombardi also highlighted the AFC North as the biggest competition for the Patriots in the conference. This is a shock because the AFC West has three teams with 7 or more wins on the year, while the Ravens and Steelers are atop the AFC North with 5-5 records. Lombardi thinks the Ravens defense isn’t getting as much credit as it deserves, while the Steelers can go “point for point” with any team.

Personally, I think the Raiders are a great team with good skill players, a great offensive line, and a defense full of potential and that they deserve to be number one on the list of Patriots competition, although I agree that the Ravens and Steelers wouldn’t be an easy out, records be damned.