Patriots

Why have Patriots started fast in 2019? Tom Brady gives fitting answer

Why have Patriots started fast in 2019? Tom Brady gives fitting answer

The New England Patriots have not won fewer than 11 games in any season this decade, and that trend is very unlikely to end in 2019.

The defending Super Bowl champions are 6-0 entering their Week 7 road game against the rival New York Jets on "Monday Night Football." New England is undefeated at this juncture of the season for the first time since 2015.

The Patriots have struggled to start fast several times in recent seasons. Here's a look at the their record through the first four games of the last eight campaigns (including 2019):

2019: 4-0
2018: 2-2
2017: 2-2
2016: 3-1
2015: 4-0
2014: 2-2
2013: 4-0
2012: 2-2

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked Wednesday during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio if there's anything different about the team this season that's leading to the fast start. 

"Our defense has given us, I think, that ability (to start fast this season), because the way they've been playing," Brady said. "They've been playing that way all the way back into the spring. They're just doing a great job. They have a lot of great continuity. The secondary -- look how long they've played together. The group of linebackers -- look how long they've played together. What they're doing to get to the quarterback, and they have such a good mix of players who can rush and cover.

"We've been gettng ahead of teams. Our defense has really been thriving -- leading the league in turnovers, leading the league in sacks, what they've been doing on third downs has been incredible. I think they've just been playing so spectacular that it's given our team a huge boost."

The Patriots defense is off to a historic start. The unit has allowed the fewest points per game (8.0) and yards per game (234.7) of any team through the first six weeks. The pass rush also has been tremendous, and as Brady noted, the defense leads the league in sacks and turnovers (including a league-high 14 interceptions). The Patriots' point differential of plus-142 is the best in the league, and well ahead of the San Francisco 49ers (plus-83) in second place.

New England's fast start has allowed it to build an early lead in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Patriots fell short of this goal last season, even though it ultimately didn't matter after they beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in the AFC Championship Game. But the Patriots should absolutely chase that seed this season because they are almost unbeatable at home. In fact, they've won 19 consecutive games at Gillette Stadium, including the playoffs.

The Patriots' fast start in 2019 should go a long way in ensuring the road to Super Bowl LIV in Miami goes down Route 1 in Foxboro. 

Phillip Dorsett gives encouraging update on his Week 7 status>>>

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Patriots Talk Podcast: A detailed look at why Tom Brady's time in NE is winding down

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Patriots Talk Podcast: A detailed look at why Tom Brady's time in NE is winding down

For 19 seasons, Tom Brady has been the unquestioned starter at quarterback for the New England Patriots. And for 19 years, he has started every game that he has been healthy for.

But ahead of the 2020 offseason, Brady's status with the organization remains as questionable as ever.

For the first time in his career, the 42-year-old Brady will be set to hit unrestricted free agency. He agreed to a restructured contract with the team this offseason, but it only gave him a pay raise this season and guaranteed that the team couldn't slap him with the franchise tag.

While Brady could return to the Patriots, it's possible that he could choose to go elsewhere if the team doesn't commit to him financially or surround him with better weaponry.

On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed the possibility of Brady leaving. And as Curran pointed out, that topic hasn't been broached with much seriousness despite the fact that free agency is closer than some may realize.

We're talking about a seismic occurrence in the arc of the dynasty that is basically 90 days away. They could come to some kind of conclusion and rectify it and he might finish his career here, but it doesn't smell that way.

It's important to note that nothing is set in stone, and the Brady-Patriots relationship has endured for two decades for a reason. Despite some strain in the relationship at times, things have always been smoothed over. 

That said, there are some quarterback-needy teams that could attempt to lure Brady away from New England in an attempt to put their team over the top. Curran and Perry identified a few different options on the podcast, one of which was the Los Angeles Chargers.

Hear more from Curran and Perry on the latest episode of "The Patriots Talk Podcast," which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

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Breaking down the Patriots' keys to victory vs. Chiefs

Breaking down the Patriots' keys to victory vs. Chiefs

The New England Patriots will look to avoid their second straight loss on Sunday, but it won't be an easy task.

They'll line up against the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship Game, which the Pats won 37-31 in overtime.

This time, the game will take place at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots have won 21 straight including the postseason to match the longest streak in team history. To make it 22, they'll need more of a spark than they've gotten recently from their struggling offense.

Of course, with last year's NFL MVP under center for the Chiefs, the Patriots defense will need to be the shutdown unit we've seen all season long.

On the latest Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry went into more detail on what the keys to a victory will be for the Patriots on Sunday.

"Do you think the Patriots' pass rush against a hobbled still -- not exactly where he was at the end of last year -- Patrick Mahomes could be the key to this game for the Patriots? 'Cause I do," Curran said. "I think you move him, you get to him, it changes everything. Same way it did with Dak Prescott, I felt."

As for the key offensively for the Patriots, that's the player they spent a second-round draft pick in October.

"If the New England Patriots keep the Kansas City Chiefs under 20 points on Sunday, then they are everything we cracked them up to be defensively all season long. That's my pledge," Curran said. "If the Kansas City Chiefs get over 20 points, the Patriots are not going to win. And if they do get over 20 points and I'm wrong, and they do win, it's because of Mohamed Sanu.

"Mohamed Sanu to me is the most important player on this Patriots offense over the last four games and into the playoffs. He is the linchpin."

Listen to the full episode below:

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