By Justin McKinney, Sports Editor
It is extremely evident that the Patriots are like a fine wine: they only get better as the season goes on.
This past Sunday, the Patriots routed the Broncos 41-16 and the defense has continued its romp of the NFL as it hasn’t let up more than 17 points in a game since September.
Despite the fact that Tom Brady is 40, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down a bit as he threw three touchdowns Sunday night and 266 yards. With Brady’s three touchdowns he is now tied with Russell Wilson for second in the league with 19 passing touchdowns.
Dion Lewis also made his presence felt early in the game as he took a first quarter kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown. He was not the only running back to find success on special teams as Rex Burkhead managed to block a Broncos punt and pull in a receiving touchdown.
Lewis had a rushing touchdown of his own as he powered past Broncos linebackers for a powerful two yard rush. One cannot talk about backs without mentioning James White as he had a touchdown reception of his own.
The Patriots defense did let up some significant yardage as cornerback Malcolm Butler seemed to struggle with wide-receiver Emmanuel Sanders at times. However, the defense was lockdown in the red-zone forcing the Broncos to settle for three straight field goals to open the game.
On another bright point for the Patriots, cornerback Stephon Gilmore returned from injury this week after missing three straight games. Gilmore, who has struggled throughout the season, played against Demaryius Thomas the entire game and aside from a garbage time touchdown, which was defended very well, Thomas was a non-factor for the Broncos offense.
What is so remarkable about this win is how complete it was. The special teams made three key plays in the game, blocking punts, returning touchdowns, and recovering fumbles deep in Broncos territory. The defense was extremely sharp as they were constantly stifling the Broncos attack and leaving them battered within the red zone.
The offense was firing on all cylinders against a very talented Broncos defense. The Broncos may have let up 51 to the Eagles last week, however many saw it as a fluke. The Broncos also matched up extremely well defensively against the Patriots and given that Tom Brady as well as Bill Belichick tend to struggle in Denver, experts predicted a dog fight.
However, what we got on Sunday Night Football was a thrashing of the Broncos. The Patriots sit tied with Pittsburgh for an AFC best 7-2 and given that Pittsburgh struggled this past week against a very weak Colts team, one has to wonder if the Patriots will just walk into the Super Bowl.
The Chiefs have lost three straight games and given Andy Reid’s reputation for coaching teams that implode by the time playoffs roll around, they do not seem threatening.
The Steelers are dangerous if healthy, but again they haven’t been able to stay healthy in the past three seasons.
As this Patriots team gains momentum and others lose traction, it seems Super Bowl LII could be another ring for the Patriots.