The 2010 New England Patriots are really, REALLY good
I know, not exactly a news flash, but I don’t think people are getting the scale of things here. For example, this Patriots team doesn’t have near the hype behind it that the 2007 Patriots had. It’s understandable why this is so. After all, the 2007 Pats were the first team to go 16-0, while the 2010 Pats are merely 14-2. The 2010 team though is playing much better going into the playoffs than the 2007 team.
Here is a table of the top teams since 1978 (when the league went to 16 games) ranked based on how much they outscored their opponents by in games 12-16 of the regular season (roughly the December games):
I’ve included the top 10 teams of this 33-year era, plus the top 3 from 2007. Those with good memories know where I’m going with this: The 2007 Patriots started out like world beaters and then tapered off. Granted it’s no easy feat to win even 5 games in a row in the NFL, but when the weather got cold the GOAT level play disappeared. This year’s Patriot team is a completely different animal. First 8 games they outscored their opponents by a scant 31 points (2007 Pats outscored opponents by 204 in the first 8), and since then they’ve completely dominated. It only takes one bad game to knock a team out of the playoffs, so you can never be sure of what will happen, but these Pats should be considered as big of a favorite as really any modern teams has been.
What’s additionally remarkable about these Pats is that they are doing it without any big name skill players except Tom Brady. When the Patriots had their all-world, arguably greatest offense in history season of 2007, it came with the arrival of Randy Moss. While there was enough credit to go around, there was a contingent of observers who said that it was Moss rather than Brady who deserved MVP status (never mind the fact that Moss had clearly not been able to have anywhere near the same effect in Oakland).
This year detractors point to Michael Vick as the player truly lifting his team, but understand: Vick has a running back who gained more yards than any on the Pats, and 2 receivers who gained more yards than any on the Pats. And despite this New England’s offense is vastly more successful. Football Outsiders with their advanced stat DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) rates New England’s offense at 46.1% which is the best any offense has scored in all the years they’ve analyzed (which goes back to 1993). Philly ranks 3rd in the league at 21.3% over average.
Unreal. Brady is clearly going to force a new Manning vs Brady debate after this year’s Super Bowl if he keeps this up.