The Patriots have a real chance to go 16-0

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are undefeated at the halfway point of the 2019 NFL season. They have a good shot at going 16-0 for the second time as a franchise.

They did it. The New England Patriots became the first team in the NFL this season to ensure that they will not have a losing record. That’s normally nothing to write home about, but doing so in the minimum number of games (eight) is nothing short of remarkable. New England moves to 8-0 after besting the bewildered Cleveland Browns in the rain in Foxborough on Sunday afternoon.

No, this isn’t New England’s first rodeo when it comes to chasing perfection. Over a decade ago, in 2007, New England went 16-0 en route to losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, one game shy of perfection. The Patriots have the same quarterback and the same head coach but boast a completely different cast of characters. Do they have a shot at 16-0 in 2019?

Yes, 16-0 is very much in play for the Evil Empire for several reasons. No. 1: They do not beat themselves. The Patriots aren’t the Browns, a team that turned the ball over on three consecutive offensive plays. No. 2: Who else is winning the AFC East? It’s not like the Buffalo Bills, the Miami Dolphins or the New York Jets have any shot at it. And No. 3.: They’ve already done it before.

New England has its bye in two weeks but will have its first true tough test of the season on the road against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9. Baltimore has been a team that has been a thorn in New England’s side before, but the Patriots should be the road favorite entering that game.

After their Week 10 bye, New England does face a critical four-game stretch. Those would be at the Philadelphia Eagles, home versus the Dallas Cowboys, at the Houston Texans and home versus the Kansas City Chiefs. All four of those teams are at or above .500 with serious postseason aspirations. New England could drop any one of those, but could also believably win all four.


 

Once the Chiefs come back to Gillette Stadium in Week 14, the Patriots end their season with a road game at the Cincinnati Bengals, host the Bills and host the Dolphins. Cincinnati and Miami are the two worst teams in the AFC. Buffalo is a good team, but who’s to say the Bills will be in contention for a Wild Card berth at that point. They still might, but they’re not winning the division.

While the hardest part of their schedule is ahead of them and primarily coming in November, there is a pathway for the Patriots to go 16-0 for the second time in 13 years. It’s a slim one because that November stretch is brutal, but if any team can walk a fine line towards perfection, it would be the Brady/Belichick Patriots. If they come up short, they can just win the Super Bowl.

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