Seven mind-blowing numbers from the Patriots first nine games of 2019
The New England Patriots are off to a strong start in 2019. Before their loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, they were an undefeated 8-0. And even at 8-1, they sit atop of the AFC.
The Patriots have gotten historically good play from their defense this season. They also have endured some blips in the radar on offense, and the unit appears to have some holes on that side of the ball.
To take stock of what the Patriots have done so far, here's a look at seven mind-blowing numbers and stats from their first nine games.
Total point differential through nine games
So far, the Patriots have outscored their opponents by a whopping 172 points. For context, the next best team in the NFL is the undefeated San Francisco 49ers with a plus-133 mark. However, no other NFL team has a margin better than plus-85, so it's safe to say that the Patriots (and 49ers for that matter) are well ahead of their peers in terms of point differential.
Yards per game the Patriots are getting from their tight ends
Since the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots haven't been able to get much production out of the tight end position. The triage of Matt LaCosse, Ben Watson, and Ryan Izzo hasn't been a particularly productive group and so far this season, they have only totaled 242 yards and a touchdown on 18 catches this year. That's the team's worst total of the past decade, and it's clear that the team is missing Gronk amid their early-season offensive struggles.
The total combined record of the Patriots opponents through nine games
The Patriots have faced one of the NFL's easiest schedules so far, and they have played five teams with six-plus losses a total of six times (they've played the Jets twice). The rest of the way, the Patriots' schedule is a bit tougher, as their next four opponents have a combined record of 22-13.
The total points the Patriots have allowed through nine games
This number is especially significant because it matches the number of points that the 2000 Baltimore Ravens gave up through nine games (per the "Boston Sports Info" Twitter account). The 2000 Ravens are widely regarded as one of the best defensive units of all-time. The Patriots are allowing just 10.9 points per game and before their poor performance against the Ravens, they only allowed 7.6 per game.
Also, as Tom E. Curran pointed out in a recent piece, the Patriots defense themselves have only allowed 70 points. The offense and special teams have been responsible for four touchdowns allowed this season.
The number of targets that Julian Edelman is on pace to receive
Even by his lofty standards, this would a new high-water mark for Edelman, whose career-high in targets was 159 back in 2016. Edelman is currently on pace for the third 1,000-yard season of his career and has 35 more targets than any other player on the Patriots (James White, 55) and 53 more than the next highest receiver (Phillip Dorsett, 37).
The average yards per carry for the team this year
This is one pace to be the lowest average yards per carry for the team since the 2000 season when Kevin Faulk and J.R. Redmond were their top running backs. This year, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and James White have struggled to get much going running behind a beat-up offensive line that has been missing as many as three starters at any given time this season.
Total interceptions by the team
The Patriots have 19 interceptions in nine games. That's seven more than the next highest total entering action on Sunday, which belongs to the Carolina Panthers. Devin McCourty leads the Patriots, and the NFL, with five picks.