The New England Patriots currently sit at 8-0. The first half of their season was a pretty easy one to say the least. But now, we’re going to see just how good this Patriots team really is on the field. Weeks 9-14 (10 being their bye week) match the Patriots up with some of the best NFL teams this year. In this span the Patriots will be playing the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans, and Kansas City Chiefs. For most teams, this would be a living nightmare. But for the Patriots, it’s just another part of the season. With that being said, let’s rank the Patriots toughest opponents from worst to first.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
Don’t give me all of the malarkey about Super Bowl LII. It’s over and done with, let’s move on! The Eagles are probably the easiest of the opponents that the Patriots will be playing. Carson Wentz is not playing at the level that fans had hoped. The secondary looks as though they are having a lot of miscommunications and breakdowns. The offense in total is in the bottom half of the league (21st to be exact) in yards per game. I know this game is on the road in a hostile Philadelphia environment. But, this is a game that the Patriots should take care of without any real problems.
4. Dallas Cowboys
Remember when the Cowboys were 3-0 and people thought they were back? Yeah, how long did that one last? This Cowboys team is a funny team. They have a lot of talent on offense with names like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, Amari Cooper, and others. Yet, they lost two weeks ago to the woeful Jets. Then the following week, they beat the Eagles by 27 points. I truly don’t know what to make of this team. However, this game is in Foxborough and the Patriots defense is playing too good at home to lose this game. Ezekiel Elliot will have some big runs, we know that. But, if you’re telling me Dak Prescott has to make some big throws to win a game in New England, I like the Patriots chances.
3. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans do have something special going on this season. DeShaun Watson is playing at the level that a lot of people speculated him to be playing at coming out of college. DeAndre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the NFL. But in this game, I don’t know what to expect from the Texans. They just lost J.J. Watt for the season with torn pectoral muscle. But the main thing to remember here is that the Patriots just have the Texans number. No matter what the circumstance is, the Patriots have simply owned Houston. They still are a tougher test than the Eagles and Cowboys. But, until the Texans have a decisive victory over the Patriots, they don’t pose as a significant threat.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
I don’t care what has transpired over the past few weeks with the Chiefs. Once Patrick Mahomes returns and is fully healthy, the Chiefs will be lethal once again. Their offense attack is absurd with Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill. But the Chiefs weakness continues to be their defense. We all saw how easily the Patriots running game was able to run through the Chiefs defense like Swiss cheese. In this game, the Patriots offense will continue to torture the Chiefs defense. Expect this game to be a shootout! Could the Chiefs pull off the upset? Absolutely. Will they pull it off? We’ll see December 8th.
Decisive 1. Baltimore Ravens
To me, the Ravens are the most difficult test for the Patriots. Lamar Jackson has taken a step in the right direction this season. Mark Ingram is having as a nice season in the backfield. They are second in the league in yards per game with 434.9. Their rush defense is scary good. It’s a Sunday night game on the road against a divisional leader. Everything adds up to this being the toughest test for the Patriots. I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous for this game. If the Patriots play mediocre this game, they can get beat. This isn’t the Jets, or the Dolphins, or the Browns. This is their first legitimate test of the season. It’s time to see how good this defense and this team in general can be when they step on the field in Baltimore.
It’s going to be a fun five weeks. If the Patriots finish 4-1, 3-2 at the worst, then they’ll be fine. Keep in mind, they have Cincinnati on the road, followed by Buffalo and Miami at home to end the season. So right there, they should be at 11 wins before playing this five week stretch. If you can get three or four wins in this stretch, you set yourselves up beautifully for the playoffs with a first round bye. Honestly, you’re probably getting home field advantage with either one of those records in this stretch as well. It’s one week at a time though for this group. Let the fun begin!