The Patriots are 3-0 for the first time since 2007. How would you rank each of the Patriots teams from 2008-2012, and where do you think this 2013 team falls in that mix?
Derek: My rankings of the Patriots teams following the 2007 season would go as follows, from worst to best…
2009 – This is the season the defense started to crumble. Brady was working his way back from injury and the team never found its groove, as evidenced by their 10-6 record, the second worst of the Brady/Belichick era. The shellacking by Baltimore in the playoffs was the cherry on top of this turd sundae of a season.
2008 – Despite being with out Tom Brady, this veteran team rallied and made it to an 11-5 record. I honestly felt that they would have made a legitimate run in the playoffs had they not lost the tie-breaker to Miami for the division title.
2012 – This team had the talent to challenge for the Super Bowl, but never really found its mojo. Injuries to Aaron Hernandez, Gronk, and, ultimately Aqib Talib, in the AFC Championship kept them from reaching their full potential.
2011 – This was a true championship-caliber team. For whatever reason, little tiny mis-steps like that Brady-to-Welker drop in the red zone, or a game-opening safety in the Super Bowl kept the the title just out of their reach.
2010 – Some would argue that this squad was too inexperienced and that the 2011 Patriots were better. While a fair point, this team buzz-sawed through the season with a 14-2 record. They just had a bad day against the Jets which derailed htem. Brady threw four interceptions and had an MVP season in what may have been his best year other than 2007.
Those are my rankings. So where would I put the 2013 team? Assuming that Gronk, Amendola, and Vereen all get healthy and there are no other major losses, I think they could be right up there with the 2010 and 2011 teams. This defense is about as good as they've had since the 2007 year, and the offense will hopefully get on track when everyone gets healthy.
Raj: When the Patriots start the season 3-0, fans are well aware of how far the team goes. As before mentioned, they went undefeated in the 2007 regular season and made it to the super bowl. So this is definitely something to look up to. However, I just feel that this season's 3-0 start is a bit different. I'm not completely sold yet on the Pats' offensive and defensive chemistry. If they are 5-0 or 4-1 after week 5, then I think this team is definitely up there with the 2007 and 2011 teams. It will be interesting to see!