The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots rolled into the season with a chip on their shoulder. The team faced so much offseason drama: Tom Brady’s potential suspension, Deflategate, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the media. The Patriots have turned that chip into a 9-0 record and have the #1 overall record in the AFC. They are also tied with the Carolina Panthers, who are also 9-0, for the best record in the NFL. This is the third undefeated start in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. Those undefeated starts have led to Super Bowl appearances each time. Are the Patriots on the cusp of their first Super Bowl title repeat in over 10 years this season?
Brady recently said in an interview that he feels that he can play for another 10 years. The way he has been playing maybe that could be a reality. He is a strong contender to receive his 3rd MVP award. He has been lighting up the league in 2015. Brady has 3,043 yards, 24 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. He also has an outstanding 111.1 quarterback rating. His two main targets superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman have tremendously benefited from Brady’s passes. Gronk is one of the top tight ends in the NFL with 49 receptions, 806 yards and 8 touchdowns. Before his recent foot injury, Edelman averaged 61 receptions, 692 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Now, receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell will have to split the catches until he returns. But, the running game for the Pats has been underrated. Dion Lewis was becoming the Patriots go-to running back for the team before his season-ending injury. Lewis averaged 49 carries, 234 rushing yards, 388 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. But, LeGarrette Blount has been stepping it up in the last three games and he has 117 carries on the year. In those games, he has averaged 267 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. He seemingly is the running back the Pats have had since Corey Dillion. They may be getting him ready now to have a huge playoff run in the running game as he did in last year‘s AFC Championship Game against the Colts.
The Pats have been good defensively this season. But, they are ranked in the middle of the pact in overall defense in the NFL. They are ranked 14th in overall defense in the league. The Patriots defense ranks 22nd against the pass, but they rank 2nd against the run. They may have lost Darrelle Revis to AFC East rival New York Jets, but there’s still talent on the defense especially an undrafted free agent that made his name on the biggest stage. Cornerback Malcolm Butler made the game-clinching interception in the end zone in last year’s Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks. Butler may have just one interception this season, but he does have 43 tackles.
The Patriots have a great chance of being undefeated for the 2015 regular season.
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By Quentin Congress