The Patriots being 6-0 just doesn’t elicit the same excitement from the bored media masses as it used to.
“I so badly wanted to crown a new No. 1 in the Power Rankings this week. Couldn’t pull the trigger.” - NFL.com
“There’s just no way I can rank any other team in the top slot.” - Bleacher Report
Even by the Patriots own lofty standards, it’s not a terribly new or unique situation. Patriots.com’s usual post-game list of notes and records compiled after Thursday night’s win against the Giants, showed this was the fourth time in team history the Patriots began the year undefeated through six games - 2004, 2007, 2015, 2019. Also interesting is that they have 14 winning streaks of six or more games in a season since 2001, the most in the NFL. More mind-boggling still is the fact that this is information is met with merely a nod and a shrug.
The Patriots have won 16 straight home games, tied for the third-longest streak in team history. Overall, the Patriots have won 11 straight games dating back to last season and including the 2018 postseason.
Not too shabby, eh? But for the experts, now it’s all about who’s in the second chair, ready to jump into the top spot at the first sign of distress in Foxborough. The 49ers and Saints overtook the Chiefs this week, after Kansas City lost two games in a row and tumbled down the rankings ladder. They’ll stay in the top five until they can figure out how their opponents figured them out and put a stop to it. But for now, the Patriots are staying afloat on the buoyancy of the defense while Brady and the lifeboat offense do enough to win. This year’s team gives off slight shades of 2013, but with a better defense— and, I believe, a better outcome in the end.
Coming up this week are the Jets in New York and the quarterback matchup we missed out on their first meeting in Week 3. Tom Brady vs. Sam Darnold: Mano a mono. The Jets are coming off a huge win over the Cowboys, so I’m not saying this game is a sure thing for the Pats. What I am predicting is a Patriots win, and cover (-9.5), on the national stage Monday night at the Meadowlands.
Around the AFC East:
New England (6-0) at NY Jets (1-4)
Buffalo (4-1) vs. Miami (0-5)
Houston (4-2) at Indianapolis (3-2)
Kansas City (4-2) at Denver (2-4)
Baltimore (4-2) at Seattle (5-1)
Oakland (3-2) at Green Bay (5-1)
Jacksonville (2-4) at Cincinnati (0-6)
LA Chargers (2-4) at Tennessee (2-4)
Cleveland (2-4) - Bye Week
Pittsburgh (2-4) - Bye Week
1st - Staff (AP Pro32).
1st - Lindsay Jones (The Athletic): The Patriots have the NFL’s best scoring offense and most stingy scoring defense. It’s pretty easy to see why the Pats remain our No. 1 team. Can’t wait for November, when the Patriots’ schedule finally gets more interesting.
1st - Consensus (Bleacher Report): The Patriots cruised past the Giants on Thursday night, largely because of a defense that continues to be absolutely dominant. New England posted a pair of non-offensive scores against New York on a blocked punt and fumble return, and the Pats’ league-best defense gave up just 213 yards of total offense.
However, the win almost came at a steep cost. A wide receiver corps that is already thin suffered another loss when Josh Gordon went down with a scary-looking leg injury in the second quarter. The Pats scuffled offensively without Gordon on the field, but it appears the 28-year-old avoided a major injury. Gordon now has a few extra days to get healthy before the Pats take on the New York Jets in Week 7.
”It’s true that outside of the Buffalo Bills, the Pats haven’t played anyone yet this year,” Davenport said. “And New England didn’t pile up many style points against the Giants. What they did pile up was another victory—short-handed or no, even when they aren’t playing their best, the Pats just go out there and take care of business. There’s just no way I can rank any other team in the top slot.”
1st - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): It’s looking more and more like they will have an easy ride to the Super Bowl. Which team in the AFC can stop them?
1st - NFL Nation (ESPN): Biggest weakness: The running game. Injuries to starting center David Andrews and left tackle Isaiah Wynn have had a trickle-down effect on the consistency with which lanes are open in the running game. With 175 rushes for 609 yards, the Patriots are averaging just 3.48 yards per carry in their 6-0 start, which has put more pressure on QB Tom Brady in the passing game.
1st - Tom E. Curran (NBC Sports Boston): No matter how undermanned the Patriots are offensively, they have the best quarterback and best offensive coordinator in football so that by the time the game ends, people are left looking at the scoreboard and saying, “Problems? What problems??” But that was a very bad defense the Patriots labored against last Thursday night. Also, the Patriots defense is the best unit in the NFL on either offense or defense. Can’t wait to see this Jets game, though.
1st - Michael McMahon (NESN): The offense remains a bit puzzling and unable to put the hammer down on lesser opponents early in contests. We’ll see if they can avoid the same fate as the Dallas Cowboys suffered against the New York Jets on Monday night.
1st - Dan Hanzus (NFL.com): I so badly wanted to crown a new No. 1 in the Power Rankings this week. Couldn’t pull the trigger. Another week, another lopsided win against an overmatched opponent. An ultra-accommodating early schedule has made the Patriots a difficult team to analyze. Given the up-and-down nature of the offense, you can make the case that Pats should drop in an exercise like this. But then again, the defending Super Bowl champions are 6-0 -- why should they be anywhere other than No. 1? All that said, let’s table the discussion about where this very good New England defense sits among Bill Belichick’s -- or the NFL’s -- all-time best until that schedule toughens up. And eventually it will ... just not yet. Belichick will get the 1-4 Jets and 2-4 Browns in the next two weeks.
1st - Darryl Slater (NJ.com): With extra rest, they should be able to cruise to 7-0 this week.
1st - Peter Botte (NY Post): The Pats let the Giants hang around for three quarters last Thursday, before pulling away on a Kyle Van Noy fumble recovery for a touchdown and Tom Brady’s second scoring sneak of the game for a 21-point win. New England has won an NFL-record 19 straight games against first-year or second-year starting quarterbacks, and they will go for No. 20 against Sam Darnold and the Jets on Monday night.
1st - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): The process isn’t always pretty, but the outcome always is.
1st - Jenny Vrentas (SI): Far from business as usual, the Patriots scored 28 of their 35 points via a blocked punt return, a fumble return and two Tom Brady rushes. But the defense continued to stifle and, led by Stephon Gilmore (1 INT, 5 passes defended), forced four turnovers.
1st - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): The Patriots continued their hot start by dominating the Giants with their defense and then using Tom Brady’s dinking and dunking to wear them down. The Pats have become a precision machine, the best we’ve seen from both sides of the ball at the same time in a long time. We just can’t wait to see what they do against a formidable opponent.
1st - Doug Farrar (TouchdownWire): As usual, there’s not much to worry about in Bill Belichick’s world. His team has the best record in football, one of the best defenses in NFL history and a relatively easy schedule of interesting but flawed teams. The Patriots play the Jets, Browns, Ravens and Eagles in their next four games. The only thing that might stop this team from putting up its second undefeated regular season is a receiver group that isn’t exactly favorable to Tom Brady. Julian Edelman is the only wideout on the current roster equipped to frighten defenses on a week-to-week basis, and though first-round pick N’Keal Harry is coming off the injured reserve list with an ankle issue and is eligible to return in Week 9, it will be up to that defense to keep things upright. Not that we’re doubting Brady’s transcendent ability, but it’s something to watch on another inevitable New England run to the Super Bowl.
1st - Nate Davis (USA Today): Defense already has 14 INTs, three more than even Baker Mayfield. Should be lots of possession changes when Bake comes to Foxborough in two weeks.
1st - Mark Maske (Washington Post): The defense continues to do the heavy lifting while the offense finds its way. Is that sustainable? Don’t wager against Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady finding a way to make things function better on offense. If that happens, a run at an unblemished season isn’t out of the question.
1st - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): The Patriots didn’t play particularly well against the Giants, everyone on Twitter wanted to retire Tom Brady after every incompletion, and New England still beat the Giants by 21 points. With the Chiefs losing two straight home games, the Patriots look like they could have the No. 1 seed wrapped up in early December.