FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — This is the silly season in the NFL, a time when fans ooh and aah over catches made in noncontact drills, and when Bill Belichick jokingly hails the scouting skills of reporters while mocking his own. So let’s agree to be silly. Let’s talk about these New England Patriots finishing 19-0.
But first, let’s remember a few things about the prohibitive NFL favorite. In addition to winning 18 consecutive games in the 2007 season, the Patriots of Belichick and Tom Brady won 21 consecutive games over the 2003 and 2004 seasons. They also won 32 of 34 (’03 and ’04) and 23 of 25 (’14 and ’15).
The 2017 Patriots? They’re the NFL’s answer to the Golden State Warriors. No, they didn’t add Kevin Durant, but they did add significant playmakers in their mid-20s at receiver (Brandin Cooks), cornerback (Stephon Gilmore), running back (Mike Gillislee) and defensive end (Kony Ealy), as well as an old pro’s pro at linebacker (David Harris). Don’t forget, a healthy Rob Gronkowski is also an addition. And since the Patriots won 17 of 19 games last season, the losses of LeGarrette Blount and the retired Rob Ninkovich aren’t about to silence thoughts of them winning 19 of 19 games this year.
The Patriots are a team of many blessings, but the burden of sustaining greatness is their one curse. As curses go, it isn’t a bad one. Belichick and Brady have won more Super Bowls (five) than any coach and quarterback before them, and outside of breaking a tie for NFL titles with the Vince Lombardi-Bart Starr partnership in Green Bay, there isn’t much left for them to do.
Except deliver a perfect season. So while it might be silly on one…
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