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Oh what fun: Through 3 games, 2017 Patriots games have 14th most points in NFL history

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The Patriots are putting on an entertaining season of football so far.

Houston Texans v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have scored 99 points this year, the second-most behind the Los Angeles Rams, and allowed 95 points, the worst mark in the league. They boast the best passing attack in the league and the worst passing defense. It’s like 2011 all over again.

And the Patriots are actually more unique than that Super Bowl year. They’ve become the 6th team in NFL history to both score and allow 95 points through three games, joining 2012 Washington, the 2002 Buffalo Bills, the 1994 Patriots, the 1986 Miami Dolphins, and the 1967 New York Giants. Washington and the Patriots reached the postseason with 10-6 records, while the Bills, Dolphins, and Giants all finished the season exactly .500.

The 194 combined points in the 2017 Patriots games makes for exciting games and is tied for the 14th-most in NFL history through three games, with the most recent teams ranking ahead of the Patriots behind the 2016 Falcons (104 for, 91 against) and the 2013 Broncos (127 for, 71 against). Not terrible company.

With teams like the Buccaneers, Falcons, Broncos, Raiders, and Steelers coming up on the schedule, there could be a lot more high scoring affairs on the horizon, and the Patriots’ ability to score 33 against the Houston Texans defense is a good sign that New England will be able to put points up against most teams.

If anything, fantasy football players should probably invest heavily in the New England receivers because the Patriots are going to be throwing the football a lot if the defense struggles to maintain leads and if the running game fails to develop.

And maybe the 2011 Patriots aren’t even a good comparison; while they ranked 31st in yards allowed, they managed to force turnovers and rank 15th in points allowed. There is no Bill Belichick team comparable to what we’re witnessing- but there are some other teams that fit the profile. I went back to 2000 to see which teams align best with the 2017 Patriots through three games.

2000 St. Louis Rams

The Greatest Show on Turf sandwiched a Super Bowl championship season in 1999 and one of the big Super Bowl upsets of all time in 2001 with a roller coaster 10-6 season in 2000. The Rams led the league with 540 points scored, but ranked last with 471 points allowed. After starting 6-0, they limped to a 4-6 close and a wild card exit against the New Orleans Saints after Kurt Warner broke his hand in week 11.

2001 Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning’s Colts ranked 2nd in points for with 413 and last in points against with 486 allowed. Indianapolis posted a 6-10 record as they lost twice to the Tom Brady-led Patriots in a span of four weeks.

2004 Kansas City Chiefs

Trent Green led the Chiefs offense to 483 points, the 2nd most in the league, but the defense allowed 435 points to rank 29th out of 32 teams. Green was actually the back-up that replaced Warner for the 2000 Rams, so it’d be interesting what Green’s career could have been if he had a defense. The Chiefs went 7-9.

2008 Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals ranked 3rd in points scored and 28th in points allowed, meeting the top and bottom 5 rankings I used as a limit. Kurt Warner (again, there’s a theme here) had an incredibly potent offense, but the defense was awful as the 9-7 Cardinals led a Cinderella run before eventually falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.

2012 New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees led the Saints to a 7-9 record while scoring a 3rd-ranked 461 points. The defense allowed 454 points to rank 31st in the league. Brees had posted a then-NFL record 5,476 passing yards the year before and followed it up with a 3rd-best all time 5,177 passing yards.

2013 Chicago Bears

The 8-8 Bears are a surprise on this list, but Jay Cutler and Josh McCown combined with workhorse running back Matt Forte to score a 2nd-ranked 445 points. The defense allowed 478 points to rank 30th in the league. Chicago lost the season finale to the Green Bay Packers and it cost them a trip to the postseason.

2016 New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees led the Saints to a 7-9 record while scoring a 2nd-ranked 469 points. The defense allowed 454 points to rank 31st in the league. This wasn’t a copy-and-paste error, it actually happened. Brees threw for 5,208 passing yards to edge out his 2012 season.

Most of these teams fluttered around .500 for the season, so hopefully the Patriots can avoid their fate. The defense needs to start playing at a higher level to complement the offense, or else this team is destined for disappointment.

But hey, at least the games will be entertaining.