Don’t look now, but this 2016 New England Patriots team might be better than the 2007 squad that went 16-0 in the regular season, narrowly missing the perfect season with a 17-14 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Bill Belichick has built this roster with an unbelievable amount of depth, which has allowed them to start the season 3-0 despite missing future Hall of Fame Quarterback Tom Brady, the NFL‘s best tight end in Rob Gronkowski, and even an injury to Jimmy Garoppolo which forced their (technically) 3rd string QB into action on Thursday.
The offensive line is playing like a cohesive unit for the first time in three years, opening up running lanes for bruising back LeGarrette Blount and keeping whatever QB they have back there relatively clean. The Patriots offensive line, which was much maligned last year for allowing nearly 2.5 sacks per game has been able to keep Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett upright, surrendering just five sacks through three games, despite playing against some of the top defenses in the league.
But we can’t forget about the defense, who not only shut out the Houston Texans last night, but didn’t allow them to cross the 50 yard line until late in the third quarter. Sure the Texans aren’t exactly the Greatest Show on Turf, but it’s the NFL and they have some weapons in Will Fuller V, DeAndre Hopkins, and Lamar Miller. All of this, mind you, is being done without two of their top defensive ends from last year (Chandler Jones: Traded; Rob Ninkovich: Suspended).
There are still 13 regular season games to go, and potentially three more playoff games; but this Patriots team is clearly the best in football right now – and it’s not even close.