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The Top 20 Patriots Moments of 2016

Let the annual offseason countdown commence!

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We're on to 2017.

The confetti has all been picked up, the locker rooms are empty, and the Patriots are all off enjoying some well-earned time off as they head into their championship offseason. We certainly aren't finished celebrating this latest Super Bowl, but for the New England front office, it's well past time to start looking towards next season. The combine is just a few days away, teams are already making trades, and the Free Agency rumors are already starting to swirl. Where Will Martellus Bennett land? Who are the Patriots going to pick up? Where will Jimmy G end up? It's a true testament to the staying power of the NFL that only slightly less popular than the season itself is the offseason.

And while we'll be getting into all of that good stuff and more over the coming weeks and months, the NFL offseason also means the triumphant return of the Top 20 Patriots Moments of the previous year. This now marks the fifth season recap I have done here at Pats Pulpit, and every single list is a blast to put together, write about, and debate. The plan is to try and fill up some of those weeks where there isn't that much to report with what I believe to be the most memorable moments in what was a league year chock full of memorable moments, and then listen to everyone disagree with me and wonder how I could have left so and so out or what I'm thinking ranking so and so as high as I did. That's the whole point of lists like these, at the end of the day; we don't feel like doing any real work, so we may as well talk football instead.

The list has been compiled, the order is set, and while I couldn't include everything I would have liked, when you condense an entire year down into 20 plays, the stark reality is that you're going to have to make some tough cuts. But before we get started on this list, as per tradition, let's take one final look back at the Top 20 Patriots Moments of 2015. Reading over this list now, the 2015 season seems like a lifetime ago. 2015 also pales in comparison, in so many ways, to the season we just witnessed.

To read the corresponding article, just click on the number next to the moment:

20. In the span of two weeks, the Patriots make two trades to acquire Keshawn Martin and Akiem Hicks.
19. A decision to kick in OT backfires as the Jets beat the Patriots in Week 16.

Otherwordly phenom and greatest player of all time J.J. Watt is held completely ineffective as the Patriots secure a playoff spot against the Houston Texans.
17. Chandler Jones and Akiem Hicks team up for a strip sack touchdown against the Tennessee Titans.

Stopped in the backfield, LeGarrette Blount sheds tacklers and rumbles for a 17 yard gain against the Houston Texans.
15. Danny Amendola and Tom Brady connect for some trickery against the Philadelphia Eagles.
14. The Patriots continue to kick in Rex Ryan's world with a season sweep of the Buffalo Bills.

. A pair of James White catch and runs show off some agility, speed, and elusiveness.
12. The Patriots absolutely destroy the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football.
11. Julian Edelman outruns the entire Cowboys D on his way to the end zone.

A huge 1st down conversion on 3rd and 17 helps push the Patriots to victory over the New York Jets.
Jaime Collins hurtles the entire offensive line to block a PAT against the Indianapolis Colts.
8. Tom Brady reaches the 400 TD mark with a one yard pass to Danny Amendola.
Opening night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Patriots offense comes back in style against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.
5. Judge Berman overrules Roger Goodell and Tom Brady is allowed to play.

4. The Buffalo Bills lose their Week 2 Super Bowl in spectacular fashion.
3. Dion Lewis makes a one-handed grab and jukes out the entire Cowboys D on his way to the end zone.
2. The Patriots exorcise some old demons and finally beat the New York Giants in dramatic fashion.

1. The Funt.

Be sure to check back in at Pats Pulpit early and often as we relive the 2016 season, one glorious moment at a time.