While no one thought the Patriots would be bad this season, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone at the start of the year proclaiming that they would have the NFL's best record heading into Week 9.
That's exactly where the Patriots stand, though, and a lot of it has to do with the play of quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady hasn't had the head-turning numbers he had in a season like 2007, but he's right near the top of every passing category in the NFL. He ranks sixth in completion percentage, sixth in touchdowns and fifth in passer rating. Perhaps most importantly, Brady has helped the Patriots take care of the football with only four interceptions.
Perhaps what makes Brady's season so impressive, however, is what he's doing it with. Many have been quick to point out that the Pats are taking on the form of the championship-winning teams of years past, and the offense is no different.
Just like the championship years, Brady no longer has any real sexy options to throw to at wide receiver. Sure, they're serviceable receivers — especially Wes Welker and Deion Branch, the latter of which is hurt, though — but Brady has taken to elevating the games of others like Brandon Tate along with young tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. And Brady is doing that all as of late without that Randy Moss fellow.
Making Brady's aerial display that much more impressive is the relative ineffectiveness of the running game. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a terrific game last week against the Vikings, but performances like that have been the exception this season for the Pats.
If the true measure of value in the NFL is winning and making those around you better, it's worth debating that no one has done either of those better than Brady.
The Patriots, for now at least, have returned to the top of the NFL. One of the biggest reasons is Brady. That said, does Brady have a chance to win the NFL MVP this season? Share your thoughts below.
Saturday, Nov. 6: How will BenJarvus Green-Ellis perform against the Browns?