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

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.