When the season started, I said if Bill Belichick got the New England Patriots to the postseason with his current team there would be no debate about the greatest coach of all time.
I think he is regardless, but if this version of the Patriots makes the playoffs this season, it should cement it in the eyes of many.
If they do make it, this might be Belichick's best coaching job of them all. The talent is so depleted on the front seven of the defense — some of it by free-agent losses and others by COVID-19 opt-outs. The offense is also pretty much new in terms of what they are doing, and yet the Patriots are 2-1 without Tom Brady.
That's impressive in itself, but this a team that could easily be 3-0, were it not for a close loss on the road to Seattle. Belichick is doing a great job, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels deserves just as much praise. With Cam Newton, the offense has changed in a big way, and McDaniels has done a great job calling plays to play to the strength of the offense, which is the running game.
The Patriots ran for 250 yards against the Raiders Sunday, doing so in a variety of ways out of a lot of different looks with a bunch of backs getting into the action. Newton's threat to run the ball is a big part of what McDaniels is using to help call plays. Newton has also showed he's a more than capable passer.
The Chiefs beat the Ravens in a battle of powerhouses, and there's a lot to go over. Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends break it all down; listen in the player below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
It's all working. That's why the Patriots are up to No. 8 in my Power Rankings this week as they ready to head to Kansas City to play the top-ranked Chiefs in a big early-season conference game. Seeding could actually be at stake. It's hard to believe that's a possibility with New England, considering all they lost this year.
Belichick is the best ever — and a playoff berth this season should lock it up for sure for any of the doubters who still remain.
|Is there any doubt they are the best team? Going to Baltimore and dominating the Ravens just solidifies it.||--||14-3-0|
|The offense looks so much better than a year ago, but the defense has some issues. They have to fix that, especially against the run.||--||8-9-0|
|They are 3-0 and I get the idea they haven't played their best football yet. Ben Roethlisberger is getting there.||1||9-8-0|
|Josh Allen has the offense looking special, but the defense has had some issues. They have to play better on that side of the ball.||1||13-3-0|
|There is no doubt Russell Wilson is the MVP right now. He has 14 touchdown passes in three games and with his defense he might need to throw 60.||1||9-8-0|
|If they are to get to the Super Bowl, they have to throw it better. Lamar Jackson wasn't good against the Chiefs.||3||10-7-0|
|They are 3-0 and Ryan Tannehill has played well. But they better tighten up the defense after giving up 30 points each of the past two weeks.||2||7-10-0|
|As their young players improve, they will as well. Get them early if you can. This week's game at Kanas City will tell a lot about them.||4||8-9-0|
|They are starting to look like the team many expected to see before the season. The defense might be better than what some thought.||4||8-9-0|
|They are 3-0 and have a quarterback controversy. You almost never see that. Nick Foles was great in rallying them against Atlanta, but now he's the starter.||8||3-14-0|
|Losing at home to the Lions is a bad look for the Cardinals. Kyler Murray looked just OK after two special weeks.||4||4-13-0|
|They showed some real fight in coming back from 28-3 down on the road against the Bills. That says a lot about this group. Jared Goff is playing well.||4||5-12-0|
|That cross-country trip after a Monday night game seemed to wear on the Raiders. The offense wasn't the same against the Patriots.||3||6-11-0|
|Winning the way they did Sunday against the Giants is a testament to the coaching staff considering all the injuries. But it will be hard navigating those hits for too long.||2||13-4-0|
|They might look back on their season and wonder how they lost at Jacksonville to open the season. They've won two straight since and have come on as a defense.||2||4-12-1|
|The defense is having major issues, which is surprising. They have to turn it around quickly. The offense was fine against the Packers, but they need Michael Thomas back.||5||7-10-0|
|They are 1-2 and could easily be 0-3. The offense is fun to watch, but that defense is woeful.||3||12-5-0|
|At 2-1 do we really know much about this team considering who they beat in their two victories? We will know more this week against Dallas.||1||7-10-0|
|Justin Herbert did some good things in his first start, but that was a bad home loss to the Panthers. Tyrod Taylor should be back this week.||4||10-7-0|
|Winning on the road against the Cardinals could have saved their season. The offense is going to be tough to stop when healthy.||7||9-8-0|
|They've faced a brutal schedule to open the season. At 0-3, they are in a big hole and the defense isn't very good. Can they rebound?||--||3-13-1|
|That was a good road victory for this young team against the Chargers. The defense is loaded with young players and it's improving by the week.||9||7-10-0|
|They looked good in beating the Jaguars, which is a step in the right direction. Does Ryan Fitzpatrick play the entire season? Should he?||7||9-8-0|
|They have been the league's biggest disappointment so far. Yet at 0-2-1 they aren't done yet in a bad division.||2||14-3-0|
|Blowing big leads the past two weeks to fall to 0-3 isn't a good look for coach Dan Quinn. It's natural to wonder when a change is coming.||5||7-10-0|
|Getting a tie on the road is a good thing for a young team, even if might not feel that way. They do have to protect Joe Burrow better.||--||12-4-0|
|They will be fun to watch because of the offense, but it will be a necessity to score big with the way the defense plays. They won't win a lot of games.||4||9-8-0|
|They've had way too many injuries to compete with good teams. It's all about next season now for the Broncos, although they do have a winnable game against the Jets Thursday night.||4||5-12-0|
|At 0-3, their season is basically over. They are terrible on defense, which is strange under Mike Zimmer.||4||13-4-0|
|They've lost two straight road games and haven't looked good in doing so. It's going to be a long season.||2||8-8-1|
|This is going to be a tough first season for coach Joe Judge. Maybe they needed more training-camp sprints.||2||9-7-1|
|This team is a dumpster fire right now. There is no hope for a turnaround either. Do they make a coaching change?||--||7-10-0|