Monday, October 22, 2007

Putting the Patriots start into perspective

Without question, the '85 Bears, '91 Redskins, and '98 Broncos are the three most dominant teams of all time. All made a legitimate run at 16-0 and all were overwhelming Super Bowl favorites a month or so into the season. Head to head, I would take the '89 49ers, '94 49ers, or '03 Patriots, but those teams all had bumps in the road and really weren't clicking until the end of the year. As dominant as those three teams were, through seven games the '07 Patriots are winning more decisively than any of them.

Pts for Pts against Margin Avg pts for Avg pts agnst Avg margin
'85 Chicago Bears 212 105 107 30.29 15.00 15.29
'91 Washington Redskins 231 82 149 33.00 11.71 21.29
'98 Denver Broncos 240 133 107 34.29 19.00 15.29
'07 New England Patriots 279 120 159 39.86 17.14 22.71

These stats are through the first seven games for each team, all of which were 7-0. The '91 Redskins opened with Detroit and Dallas, arguably the two next best teams in the NFL that season, and played 10 win Philly in week 5 and 11 win Chicago week 6. This makes the Redskins start particularly impressive. The '85 Bears played the 10 win Redskins and 49ers along with the eventual AFC Champion Patriots during their start, but they also played the 2-14 Bucs twice. Denver only played two playoff teams in their first 7 games in '98, the Jaguars and the overachieving Quincy Carter-led Cowboys. The jury is still out on the Patriots schedule, but the Cowboys and Chargers seem to be among the NFL's best this year.

I'm inclined to call the '91 Redskins start slightly more dominant than that of this year's Patriots, but the Redskins won one game by 2 points and another by 7 during their start. The Patriots have won a staggering 8 straight regular season games by 3 or more scores, going back to last season. I have to imagine that's a record; the '94 49ers did so 4 times in a row at one point, the '85 Bears and '98 Broncos 3 games in a row, the '89 49ers and '91 Skins twice in a row, and the '03 Patriots twice all season, non-consecutively. The '85 Bears and '89 49ers both won the last game of the regular season and all three playoff game by three or more scores, peaking at the right time.

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