What a fantastic win last Sunday night. Beating the Broncos with a stick, especially in Denver, almost felt like it used to when the Patriots beat the Colts or the Rex Ryan-era Jets back when they’d strut around like they were all that and a bag of chips.
The Patriots were so dominating, I’m a bit embarrassed by my low-ball prediction of a 14-point win. Style points may matter to the analysts, and of course I’ll take the win whichever way it comes, but that was pretty sweet.
Looking ahead to the Week 11 slate with an eye on the AFC race, one thing apparent is that the Patriots don’t have much of a win-column cushion to keep hold of the No. 1 seed. Chiefs and Jaguars, close rivals in the standings, each have easy matchups and I’ll be rooting for the Titans & Chargers this week. So long as New England keeps winning they will remain in control. As for New England vs. Oakland, ‘Los Patriotas ganan en la Ciudad de México por 17’.
Around the AFC East:
New England (7-2) at Oakland (4-5) — in Mexico City
Buffalo (5-4) at LA Chargers (3-6)
Miami (4-5) vs. Tampa Bay (3-6)
NY Jets (4-6) - Bye Week
Pittsburgh (7-2) vs. Tennessee (6-3)
Kansas City (6-3) at NY Giants (1-8)
Jacksonville (6-3) at Cleveland (0-9)
Baltimore (4-5) at Green Bay (5-4)
Houston (3-6) vs. Arizona (4-5)
Cincinnati (3-6) at Denver (3-6)
2nd - Joshua Schrock (NESN): New England dismantled the scuffling Broncos in Week 10 and now have won five games in a row. The Patriots’ defense still has some kinks to work out, but has shown major improvement since Week 4.
2nd - Kevin Dillon (MassLive): A brilliant special teams performance led the Patriots’ most complete effort of the season Sunday, as the Patriots blew the doors off of the Broncos. Next up for New England is the Raiders in Mexico City, which could go a long way in proving how dominant a team this year’s Patriots can be.
2nd - Peter King (SI): As usual, the Patriots didn’t get too out of whack when they lost two games in the first month of the season. They’re not blowing teams away now (at least not until Sunday night in Denver), but after the early defensive debacle they’ve held five straight foes under 18 points.
2nd - Mark Maske (Washington Post): The win Sunday night in Denver was routine and the Patriots are spending the week in Colorado, practicing at the Air Force Academy, for this weekend’s meeting with the Raiders in Mexico City. The AFC East race is over. It’s all about the race with the Steelers for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
2nd - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): The only question left for the balance of the regular season is whether they’ll win the AFC Championship at home or on the road.
2nd - Experts (ESPN): Projected wins: 12.1. The Patriots just started a stretch of five road games in six weeks and are still projected to win 12.1 games. They've allowed 13.4 points per game during their five-game win streak, the third-lowest average in the NFL in that span.
2nd - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): The Patriots have won five in a row, not allowing more than 17 points in any of those games while averaging 25.6 points and a little less than 400 yards on offense. If you forget about the first four weeks, what we’ve seen from the Patriots the past five games is pretty much what we expected back when people were wondering if 19-0 was possible.
2nd - Chris Simms (Bleacher Report): The Patriots have things rolling. The defensive issues have been fixed, and the offense is unstoppable.
Tom Brady is unreal. Bill Belichick is amazing. They're helping to provide us with the football equivalent of the 1920s and '30s New York Yankees. New England is a dynasty and is one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL.
There isn't much more to say here. The Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC.
2nd - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): They are getting back to looking like a Super Bowl return is certainly possible. Tom Brady is having an MVP season.
2nd - Adam Stites (SB Nation): Entering the week, the top three teams in our power rankings were the Eagles, Patriots, and Saints in that order. After the week, it’s still those three and it’s still that order.
2nd - Joe Giglio (NJ.com): Remember when everyone was worried about the Patriots? They're about to run away from the AFC East again.
2nd - Mark Cannizzaro (NY Post): Home, on the road, in the U.S., out of the U.S. (the Patriots play the Raiders in Mexico City on Sunday), it appears they’re on track for another Super Bowl run.
2nd - Manish Mehta (NY Daily News): I cannot believe that a 40-year-old Tom Brady is still the best player in the NFL. It makes no sense whatsoever. The ageless wonder tossed three more touchdowns in a rout over Broncos. Next up: The Raiders in Mexico. How do you say "Superman" in Spanish?.
2nd - Staff (USA Today): Talk about a TOTAL team effort. Everyone on New England's game-day roster played Sunday night, and even new backup QB Brian Hoyer looked good.
2nd - Staff (AP Pro32).
3rd - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): After cruising past the Broncos, the Patriots didn’t head home to Massachusetts, but instead remained in Colorado before Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Mexico City.
3rd - Elliot Harrison (NFL.com): Blowout win in Denver for the Patriots, as Bill Belichick prepares to blow by another legend. On Sunday night, Belichick tied Cowboys icon Tom Landry with 270 career wins, the third-most all-time. Landry's last win came on the road, in a difficult place to play (RFK Stadium in Washington), much like Belichick's 270th. There are also fewer degrees of separation between Belichick and Landry than there are between Belichick and Kevin Bacon. Belichick's first year as a defensive coordinator in the NFL (with the New York Giants) was Landry's last playoff season, 1985. Dallas' offense got the best of Belichick's Giant defense in Week 15 that year, when Cowboys third-string quarterback Steve Pelluer led a late scoring drive, clinching the NFC East title. (I went to that game and still have the program. Belichick used to wear a Giants headband in those pre-hoodie days.) Going further, Belichick's father, Steve Belichick, coached at Navy when future Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach won the Heisman there, in 1963 -- Bill was actually the ballboy. Staubach went on to become Landry's only Hall of Fame quarterback, delivering 97 wins for Dallas and becoming one of the faces of the league. Pats QB Tom Brady is Canton-bound, having done that and more -- Brady earned his 86th road win Sunday night, an incredible accomplishment in its own right. History is awesome.
AVERAGE RANK: 2.1 (+0.4)