There’s no disputing New England Patriots’ place among the NFL’s elite, but they by no means are free of flaws.
Entering their Week 9 tilt with the Baltimore Ravens, the Pats sits at 8-0, having rolled through quite a few teams with relative ease — due largely to a great defense. The problem is though, they haven’t really played any of the league’s better teams, outside of maybe the Buffalo Bills, so it’s tough to assess how they stack up against the NFL’s best.
In his latest “Herd Hierarchy” which are just power rankings, FS1’s Colin Cowherd this week had the Patriots ranked third behind the New Orleans Saints and top-ranked San Francisco 49ers.
Here’s the reasoning,
“Now you’re saying Colin, New England, they should be No. 1. Here’s what I saw against Cleveland: their offensive line lost a lot of individual battles to the Browns defensive line, and the Patriots defensive line lost a lot of individual battles to the Browns offensive line … Now they are the first team in the Super Bowl era halfway through a year to be averaging 30 and giving up only 10. Some of that is they’ve just played young quarterbacks, (Sam) Darnold, Baker (Mayfield), just kids. But I didn’t love their line play this weekend, I still think they don’t have a tight end that can be dynamic and they have no vertical passing game, and I think Brady has looked flat.”
It’s worth noting this was recorded before the Niners’ win over the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday, but nevertheless, San Fran has some issues of its own. While they too boast a top defense, their passing game mostly has been underwhelming, and their running backs, while good, have dealt with injuries all season.
The Ravens, for what it’s worth, were ranked seventh. So there’s no questioning they are the toughest task to date for the Pats.