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Samsonite Make Your Case: Six-cessful Starts

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With Thursday’s win over the Giants the Patriots moved to 6-0 for just the fourth time in franchise history. The previous three times – 2004, 2007 and 2015 – each had their own unique journeys to their undefeated starts and each would diverge shortly after their sixth wins of the year.

From the heart of the first dynasty, to an unstoppable aerial assault, to the early days of the second dynasty, each team was impressive in its own way but all had different fates.

The 2004 Patriots saw a 21-game win streak snapped in Week 7, but recovered and won their third Super Bowl. The 2007 team made it all the way to 18 wins before finally succumbing to the Giants in one of most notorious Super Bowls in NFL history. The 2015 squad raced to a 10-0 start before injuries derailed their season and forced them back to Denver in the AFC Championship where they could not overcome a historic defense.

In this week’s Samsonite Make Your Case question we ask which 6-0 team was the best?

Patriots.com’s Mike Dussault says...

2007

An NFL team has never taken a season by storm quite like the 2007 Pats did, putting up 400 yards of offense in each of its first eight games. The records that would fall – touchdown passes, touchdown receptions, the first team to go 16-0 – were just a few highlights for a team remembered more for the only loss than the 18 wins in a row that they put up, many of which were absolute blowouts like 52-7 over the Redskins and 56-10 over the Bills.

In many ways 2019’s team is an upside down version of 2007. This time it’s the defense that is on an unbelievably dominant pace, while the offense is just doing enough to complement them and take advantage of their stellar play that is producing turnovers and short fields. Not to sell the 2007 defense or 2019 offense short, but both benefited from historic performances and are thus seen as potential weak links.

In 2007, the nearly-unstoppable offense was held to a season-low in points and the defense was unable to come up with the one last stop needed to secure the perfect season. Could the 2019 team be in for a similar fate? One where the defense allows a season-high of points and the offense is unable to match that high-point total? Tom Brady and the offense will continue to push themselves toward making sure that doesn’t happen.

-MD

Patriots.com’s Paul Perillo says...

2004

It’s crazy that we can legitimately weigh the merits of multiple great teams of the Bill Belichick era, and comparing which 6-0 start is the best certainly falls into that category. For me it’s 2004, and my reason is simple: that team displayed the most balance between offense and defense of the options.

Tom Brady had yet to become the GOAT but he was well on his way back then. He didn’t set any passing records but Corey Dillon established a rushing one, and his 1,635 yards remain the most in a single season in Patriots history. Dillon bludgeoned teams to death on the ground while Brady effectively spread the ball among Deion Branch, David Givens and David Patten.

As a result, the Patriots dominated their overmatched opponents with a combination of ball control offense and suffocating defense. New England scored 27 or more points in three of the six games while the defense surrendered more than 20 just once.

That season ended with a 14-2 record and a Super Bowl title. There’s still a long way to go, but the current version has looked awfully similar so far.

-PP

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