It's tough to argue that any offense in football is definitively more dangerous than that of the New England Patriots. There are some (like the Falcons, Cowboys, Raiders, and Saints, to name a few) that are right up there, but the Tom Brady-led Pats are still at or near the top of the charts.
New England has scored 27-plus points in all four games that Brady has played this season, and is averaging 34 per game. That's ahead of Atlanta's league-high 33.9 average. Brady has spread the ball around to Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett and Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola and James White and even LeGarrette Blount. All of those players have found their way into the end zone over the Pats' last four games.
And in a scary development for the rest of the league, Brady's about to get another top target back. Dion Lewis is close to returning from knee surgery, possibly as soon as this week (though probably not until next week).
Dion Lewis' Pats teammates giddy about his return soon. LeGarrette Blount: "He's nasty in the open field. It doesn't make any sense."— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 10, 2016
The sense is Lewis is making the case to play Sunday vs Seattle. If so, expect him to be limited but his return is big.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 10, 2016
Lewis was a breakout start for the Patriots early last season, filling the role vacated by Shane Vereen as Brady's pass-catching back. In what essentially amounted to six games, Lewis took 49 carries for 234 yards (4.8 per carry) and two touchdowns, and also added 36 catches for 388 more yards and two more scores.
That made him one of only 22 running backs with at least 35 touches on the ground and through the air, and of that group, no back came close to averaging his 7.32 yards per touch. Not only that but Lewis shattered the record for Pro Football Focus' Elusive Rating, which measures a player's ability to break tackles and generate yards after contact. By forcing an incredible 43 missed tackles on 85 touches and averaging 3.25 yards after contact per attempt, Lewis recorded an Elusive Rating of 168.4; the previous single-season high in PFF's database, which goes back to 2007, was 106.9. Blount was not kidding when he said Lewis is nasty in the open field.
White has done just fine filling Lewis' role in the diminutive back's absence, but it's likely they'd each become more dangerous by occasionally sharing the field. The Pats could conceivably operate out of a two-back, two-tight end set in which all four of those players are high-level receiving threats. This is a team that can already stretch a defense to its limits both vertically (with Gronkowski and Bennett down the seam, or Hogan on the edge) and horizontally (with the tight ends, Edelman, Amendola, and White). Add another threat to the mix, and it might just be too much for even the best defenses to handle.