The last time I saw a NFL team just absolutely annihilate everyone they played each week, it was in 2007. And it was also the same New England Patriots. That was the infamous undefeated season, the only team in NFL history to go perfect in a 16 game slate.
Of course, they also lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants in
one of the greatest upsets in NFL history, so that 18-1 mark is forever
blemished due to the failure in the big one. The '07 Patriots repeatedly
slaughtered opponents every week, partially out of "anger" from the
Spygate controversy which struck them early in the season and then
re-surfaced later at Super Bowl time.
The 2010 Patriots didn't start out as strong as the '07 team, but
while the former team tailed off down the stretch, this team is warming
up at exactly the right time. They utterly annihilated the Chicago Bears yesterday, and in doing so scored 30+ points for the fifth straight time.
They've scored 40+ on three separate occasions, and 30+ in every game
but four. And they're doing it against the best defenses in the league:
Chicago, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, NYJ. Every one of these defenses sees
their ppg average get worse after facing New England.
Tom Brady has pulled away from the pack as an MVP candidate, and any
person making a NFL power rankings these days without New England #1 is
seriously mentally challenged. The earlier losses to the Jets and
Cleveland Browns feel like they Their hated rival, the New York Jets are now two games behind them, with just three to play.
The Pats became the first team to clinch a playoff berth and look to
secure the AFC #1 seed. With this recent hot stretch, it's very easy to
compare this team to '07, right? As College Gameday's Lee Corso would
say: "not so fast my friend."
There's talk on Pats message boards of this team being better than
'07. They bring up what I said earlier, about this team peaking at the
right time (possibly) versus that team peaked in mid-season. And there's
no doubt this team today is much more balanced than '07. The undefeated
team was more focused on the deep ball, and had less of a running game.
Their pass-catching threats were more prolific, but they had fewer of
them. This team spreads the ball around more effectively and seems to be
even more of a schematic nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.
Here's some statistical comparisons I saw on that ESPN board:
Top 10 D: 6 8 (10 projected)
SOS: .896 1.012 (win to loss ratio)
YPC 11.7 11.3
Rush YPA 4.1 4.2
TOP/G 32:31 29:25
Plays 1058 800
Pts/Play .557 .519
Also, the current message board posters seem to have forgotten how
dominant that team was. Wes Welker would lead the NFL in receptions in
2007 while Randy Moss would set an NFL record with 23 touchdown catches.
The Patriots' offense broke numerous records, including those for
points scored and point differential. Brady set an NFL record with 50
touchdown passes on the season.
They scored 30+in their first eight, and in every regular season game
but four; and at least 24 in each game they didn't reach 30. In
mid-season, they scored 48+ in four out of five. They were one of just
three teams in NFL history to win 18 games. No team has ever won 19.
Through the first 8 games of that season their offensive line was
about as dominant as any OL unit in the history of football. Then in
the second half of the season they were rather mediocre to slightly
above average. And in the Super Bowl, they just utterly failed to show
up and they let the New York Giants front seven do whatever they want.
And that's what bridges us to today. If the Pats keep this hot streak
up in the postseason, they can take care of unfinished business from
2007. And then it will be very easy to decide who's the better Patriots
team: 2007 or 2010.
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com
Filed under: NFL
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