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Could the Patriots Go Undefeated… Again?

Billy Sakmann

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Dunkin Donut’s offers medium coffee’s for only 87 cents any day after the New England Patriots win, a nod to their superstar tight end Rob Gronkowksi, who wears the number 87.

Expect to see a lot of 87 cent coffees sold this season.

With a third-string, rookie quarterback under center, and Gronkowski on the sideline the entire game, the Patriots still demolished the Houston Texans by a score of 27-0. The Texans were previously undefeated, and the Patriots handed quarterback Brock Osweiler only his third loss in ten career starts.

The Patriots moved to 3-0 with their win on Thursday night, and it may already be time to start the inevitable conversation. Could this team go 16-0?

Only two teams have gone undefeated in the NFL in regular season play, the 1972 Miami Dolphins and the 2007 New England Patriots. The Dolphins won their Super Bowl to cap the NFL’s only perfect season, while the 2007 Patriots infamously fell one game short, losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

The biggest reason for optimism that this could be a special year comes from the quarterback position. Two-time MVP Tom Brady has been serving his four game suspension in relation to “Deflategate” but the Patriots haven’t missed a beat. Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looked sharp and led his team to a 2-0 start before being sidelined with a throwing shoulder injury. On Thursday night rookie Jacoby Brissett took over, and while he did nothing spectacular, the Patriots still won convincingly.

In one more week, Brady is set to return to the field, and Gronkowksi should soon be healthy again. Is New England set for another great season? If they’re performing this well with their young quarterbacks, what will happen when a three-time Super Bowl MVP is running the offense?

At the very least, the notion of the Patriots going undefeated isn’t outlandish for a number of reasons. They’ve done it before, nine years ago. Almost every player from that team has moved on in one way or another, but two huge constants remain: Brady and Bellicheck. They are the heart and soul of this New England team, and if they see the opportunity to go undefeated they will definitely take it.

Also of note, the Patriots are just a team that rarely loses. The Patriots have gone 12-4 each of the last four seasons, an impressive 75% win rate. Hypothetically speaking, if the Patriots have a 75% chance to win every game they play, it’s not a stretch to think the 25% of a loss might not come this season.

Lastly, their schedule lines up pretty favorably. Brady has historically owned the AFC East, and while the New York Jets definitely pose a threat, the Patriots could still go 6-0 in divisional play. That’s almost halfway to a perfect season in itself. The Patriots also play the NFC West, but have already beaten its best team, the Arizona Cardinals, on their own field.

The biggest challenges the Patriots will face will be Week 7, at the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 12, at the New York Jets, and Week 15, at the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. If the Patriots can win these three huge road games, there’s a great chance they could finish the regular season undefeated.  

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Could the Patriots Go Undefeated… Again?