If there was any question before, there certainly isn’t now — the New England Patriots are the team to beat in the AFC.
The last two preseason games were absolute blowouts by the Patriots, even when their starters weren’t in the game. Tom Brady, who did start off a little bit shaky in last night’s performance against the Carolina Panthers, managed to pull himself together and completed an otherwise flawless preseason stint of just over two quarters. Even rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has played beyond expectations — actions that will likely land him the lone backup QB position in front of Ryan Mallett.
New Englands’ defense has looked even better than the offense, allowing few yards in both of the last two preseason games, sacking the quarterback left and right, and generally playing like they’re already the best defense in the league. This team is full of studs, and if this can translate into the regular season, other teams should fear for their lives.
The Patriots have not looked this way the past few seasons. This team is complete, well-rounded, and has the fight similar to that of the 2004 Super Bowl winning team. Brady looks as good as ever, the defense has at least five or six capable leaders, Danny Amendola is settling in nicely in his second season as a New England wide receiver, and special teams has vastly improved from last season.
At this point, New England has all the tools to win another Super Bowl. The pieces of this puzzle are all on the table, and it’s now the job of the Patriots to put them together and bring the Lombardi Trophy back to New England.