Brooks, in the unique "give an asterisk to Tom Brady, but Bill Belichick is the best coach in the league" club, ranks the Seahawks, Steelers, Panthers, Broncos, Vikings, Chiefs, Bengals, Cardinals, Giants, and Cowboys ahead of the Patriots. I'm 83% sure he's just trolling for pageviews.
Brooks ranks the teams based upon how many "blue-chip players" are on the roster, which are those regarded as "among the top players in the NFL at their respective positions." He says "championship teams usually have around eight to 10 blue-chip players on the roster."
So, pray tell, how do the Patriots not qualify?
Quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, and kicker Stephen Gostkowski are the best players in the league at their respective positions- and yes, Gostkowski is one of the ten most important players on the Patriots, according to Belichick himself, and Brooks lists Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey as a blue chip.
If Broncos safety T.J. Ward is considered a blue chip, then safeties Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung definitely are.
If Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick is a blue chip, then cornerback Malcolm Butler definitely is.
If Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a blue chip, then linebackers Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins definitely are.
If Cardinals edge defender Chandler Jones is a blue chip, then edge defender Jabaal Sheard definitely is.
If Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph is a blue chip, then back-up tight end Martellus Bennett definitely is.
If Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is a blue chip, then wide receiver Julian Edelman definitely is- and Brooks doesn't seem to care about injuries, either, with multiple players that were seriously injured in 2015 still considered blue chips.
And that's 11 blue chips right there, not including risers like running back Dion Lewis, defensive tackle and 4th best run stuffer in the league Malcom Brown, and maybe even cornerback Logan Ryan after his great 2015 campaign. While these players are definitely not in the top of their positions, they are young talent that played at a high level last season.
For me, it's insane to say that the Patriots- coming off five straight AFC Championship games with just one key free agent departure in defensive tackle Akiem Hicks- are not one of the top 10 most talented teams in the NFL.