The New England Patriots are off to their best start in franchise history, which is saying something considering their long run of success that includes six Super Bowl championship teams and an undefeated regular season back in 2007.
Through seven games, the undefeated Patriots lead the league in points scored with 223. They also lead the NFL in fewest points allowed with 48 while shutting out the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 and the New York Jets on Monday night. Their 175-point differential, according to ESPN, is the NFL's largest during the first seven games of a season since the Buffalo All-Americans in 1920, the NFL's inaugural season.
To help put what New England's current team is doing into perspective, the '07 Patriots, the only team to complete a 16-game regular season schedule with an unblemished record, had a 159-point differential through seven games. While that team scored more points (279), they allowed 72 more points through seven games than what the current Patriots' defense has allowed to this point.
Here's a look at how New England's point-differential through seven games compares to five teams that are widely considered to be among the greatest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.
|Team||Point differential||Record||Final regular season record|
While the Patriots' start is considerably better than any of the teams listed above, here's a look at where New England's defense matches up through seven games against several units that are considered among the best since the merger.
|Team||Points allowed||Shutouts||Super Bowl champion?|
New England's roster, while it doesn't have as many stars as in previous years, it is filled with smart, experienced players that execute Belichick's game plan. While Tom Brady is still playing at an elite level, he continues to be complemented by Julian Edelman, one of the league's most reliable receivers. New England's offense line, despite losing David Andrews and Isaiah Wynn, continue to give Brady time while opening up holes for second-year back Sony Michel, who scored three touchdowns in the Patriots' 33-0 win over the Jets. Young players -- most recently undrafted rookie wideout Jakobi Myers -- have also contributed to New England's success when called upon to produce.
While New England's offense is still elite, the Patriots' defense is playing at an all-time level. Led by linebackers Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy, Dont'a Hightower, edge rushers John Simon and rookie Chase Winovich, and arguably the league's best secondary that includes Stephon Gilmore, Jason and Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon, New England's defense has already recorded 26 sacks, 18 interceptions and seven forced fumbles.
Can this Patriots team go down as one of the best of all-time? While that question will undoubtedly be discussed on sports talk shows as long as New England continues to win, Brady isn't letting himself get too carried away ... yet.
"We're a long way from thinking about those things," Brady said when asked by ESPN's Lisa Salters about his team's championship potential following Monday night's win. "Again, just happy we won. Seven wins doesn't get you anything in the NFL. But 33-0, if we don't give up points, it's gonna be hard to lose."