Even with the dawn of a new season still ripe, the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s incredibly tough to evaluate what will happen in the league after only three weeks of substance to breakdown, yet, once again, like many years out of the past 15 or so, the New England Patriots are and should be the favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy at +350.
The Patriots are currently 1st in the league with an unblemished record of 3-0, though what separates them from the remaining unbeaten teams is they’ve already secured two divisional wins and currently sit at a +89 in net points, far and away the best in the league. Now, none of this is really surprising as the Patriots have faced the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Miami Dolphins, and the New York Jets, though the performances the Patriots have strung together shouldn’t be overlooked, either.
Thus far, the offense is ranked 2nd in points per game and 6th in yards per game, and the defense is ranked 1st in points per game allowed and 1st in yards per game allowed. The defense has had two incredibly easy tests and one legit one in the Steelers. The insane dynamic among it all is that the Patriots have not allowed a single touchdown on defense through three games, allowing only two total touchdowns (one was a pick-six, one was a special teams score). The numbers are incredible, yet some will choose to believe they aren’t the be-all-end-all as the opponents were less than stellar, which is true, yet the Patriots’ schedule gets no tougher as the next three games on the schedule come against the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins, and New York Giants.
The Patriots have an uncanny ability to compete at the highest-level year-in and year-out, and look to once again be a class above the rest. Examples of this are when the Patriots allow star players to walk as their price tags become too expensive, the player struggles elsewhere, and then said player returns to the Patriots, as does their form. No example is clearer than linebacker Jamie Collins. Collins was a pro bowler and Super Bowl winner with the Patriots who eventually latched on with the Cleveland Browns on a massive contract. Things didn’t work as planned in Cleveland, with the Browns ultimately releasing Collins this past offseason. A week later, Collins re-signed with the Patriots and is now enjoying a career revival as he’s already registered three pass deflections, 2.5 sacks, five tackles-for-loss, and four quarterback hits in only three weeks.
The offense looks to once again be lethal, even upon the release of wide receiver Antonio Brown. The bevy of options and matchups the Patriots deploy can be called a masterclass, and usually is. The Patriots have a multitude of offensive weapons which include running backs Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and James White, and receivers which include Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Josh Gordon, and the rookie who’s impressed, Jakobi Meyers. This doesn’t include first-round draft pick N’Keal Harry who is currently out with injury.
Looking around at the remainder of the league, there are a handful of very solid teams poised to make some serious runs at the Lombardi in 2019. Specifically, the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens are likely the Patriots’ biggest threats in the AFC, whereas the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Dallas Cowboys pose the biggest threats in the NFC.
Yet when it’s all said and done, the Patriots seem to be the head of the mountain, as the coaching staff adapts as they go, relying on some of the greatest to ever play the game such as quarterback Tom Brady. The well-rounded roster, incredible coaching staff, and the remainder of the league looking shaky, are the main reasons as to why I believe the Patriots will once again hoist the Lombardi Trophy in 2019/2020.