By Mike Ferris
The Patriots are 3-0, have scored 119 points and have outscored opponents by 49 points so far this year.
While everything looks good, don’t write them in as Super Bowl favorites just yet.
The Patriots have beaten the Steelers, Bills and Jaguars— hardly impressive when you actually look at each of the three teams.
On opening night, New England defeated Pittsburgh. While the Steelers are not a bad football team, they played this game without arguably their best player, Le’Veon Bell. Had Bell played this could’ve been an entirely different game.
In Week 2, New England beat Buffalo. After leading 37-13, the Patriots defense allowed the Bills to rattle off 21 unanswered in just over seven minutes and a chance to win late in the fourth. Had Tyrod Taylor not thrown three picks, including one on Buffalo’s potential game-winning drive, this too is an entirely different game. And let’s be honest with ourselves, Tyrod Taylor is not that good.
In Week 3, New England defeated Jacksonville 51-17. This was never really a good game and while the win was somewhat impressive, the Jaguars are the Jaguars and truthfully, how can you put that much stock in a win over the Jags?
The Patriots offense is strong, that’s for sure. Brady looks like the Super Bowl Champion he is and the offense looks high-powered as always.
But as the Seahawks and Ravens, two teams known for their defenses, have proven in recent memory, defense wins championships. Even the Patriots demonstrated this last year, when a goal line pick sealed Super Bowl XLIX.
The Patriots have yet to show this year that their defense is up to the test. After losing their best defensive back, Darrelle Revis, to the division-rival Jets, New England quite frankly has no secondary.
At corner, the Patriots start Bradley Fletcher, who was an embarrassment in Philadelphia last year, and Malcolm Butler, who, aside from one good play, has hardly proved himself. At safety, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung start. Chung is an average safety and while McCourty is good, he’s overrated without a strong corner.
The defense hasn’t proven much of anything this year. The team has allowed 70 points, second worst in the AFC East behind only the abysmal Dolphins.
New England’s defense is going to get exposed this year and the team that is going to do it is its rival that everyone is overlooking – Denver.
Denver’s offense hasn’t been spectacular, but neither is New England’s defense, and while the Patriots offense has looked unstoppable, the Broncos have exactly what it takes to stop them. Denver has the best secondary in the league and will expose New England.
While everyone is high on the Patriots thus far, they haven’t proven all that much, and truthfully, as much as Patriots fans will hate this, the AFC East should be watching out for the Jets.