ESPN Boston*'s Jackie MacMullan says the Patriots just keep getting better and better. On Sunday night New England proved that they could win (and dominate) even when Tom Brady doesn't play his best. Further more, they proved they could beat a good team on the road. Sunday's win was the third game in a row that the Patriots beat a team by more than 21 points. They've been dominating teams on both sides of the ball, which has put them in control of their own destiny with just six games left on the schedule.
"The goal is always the same: Super Bowl or bust. It is infinitely less taxing to achieve this with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. On Sunday, New England took another giant step in the direction of securing that coveted position," wrote MacMullan.
As MacMullan pointed out, the Patriots victory over the Colts gives them a huge advantage in the playoff race. Sean Leahy of the Boston Globe highlights the current playoff picture and explains why the Patriots are heavy favorites to earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
"If the Chiefs can capture the AFC West title (they'll need to beat Denver on Nov. 30 to do it), they would then need only to finish tied with the Patriots to seize the No. 1 overall seed," explained Leahy. "So they're the Patriots only significant competition for playoff positioning."
Following the win, Adam Kurkjian of the Boston Herald listed his best and worst moments from the game in Indianapolis. The 'best jaw-dropper' went to Rob Gronkowski for his 26-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter, while the 'worst decision' went to Tom Brady for his uncharacteristic interception to Mike Adams that set up a Colts TD. Of course the award for 'best performance' went to Jonas Gray who rushed for 199 yards and 4 -- yes, FOUR -- touchdowns!
Jonas Gray's record-breaking performance also earned him a spot on Jane Coaston's list of 'three things we learned' on Sunday night. In her SB Nation article, Coaston said that Gray is leading the way for the Patriots rush offense and it's likely that he'll continue to be the feature back on the team. According to Coaston, another thing we learned is that the Patriots defense is "seriously solid". While the Colts were able to rack up yards through the air, the Patriots defense was stout on third and fourth down and consistently forced Indianapolis off the field.
In fact, the defense has been so good that Ty Law is saying this is the best Patriots defense since 2004. Law appeared on Comcast SportsNet's Postgame Live and talked about the level at which the defense is playing with Darrelle Revis in the secondary.
"The way they're playing now I will say that they are the best defense since ," said Law on the show. "It feels good to say something positive about them right now. I think it starts with the secondary, because they've finally got some guys in the secondary that can actually play."
But as we all know, the Patriots don't take much time to enjoy each individual win. It's one game at a time here in New England and immediately after each victory (or defeat for that matter), it's on to the next opponent. So with that in mind, we look ahead to the Detroit Lions. Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press posted an article that highlights how the Patriots have been playing lately. Furthermore Monarrez took a look back at how the Lions fared in the 6 games they've played Bill Belichick-coached teams.
"How are the Pats doing at Gillette Stadium? Just fine, as usual. They're 5-0 at home this season and they're riding a 14-game regular-season winning streak at The Razor." wrote Monarrez. "New England's offense is playing great and entered Sunday third in NFL scoring with an average of 31.2 points per game."