BOSTON (CBS) – It’s that time of the football season, where the title contenders start to separate themselves from the title pretenders.

Right now, the Patriots are trending up. They sit at 8-3 thanks to their current five-game win streak, and are showing signs of coming to life on defense.

98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz broke down the NFL playoff picture to kick off the week, and given their recent play, have some high expectations for New England this postseason.

“If you are not showing signs of improvement right now you’re in trouble. I feel like the past two weeks, the Patriots have started to turn a corner,” said Mazz. “There is no way to nail that down because of their opponents, but it feels like they’re during a corner. Meanwhile, looking at the other teams around the league, with a few exceptions, other teams are getting worse.”

“They’re playing better. I also think they are just a very talented team; even on defense,” said Felger. “Their defense has more talent than it shows, and I think that’s why we complain about it so much. If they can play up to their abilities, they can be a balanced championship team.”

The only team Felger thinks the Patriots could have an issue with in the postseason is the top-seeded Houston Texans, who are currently 10-1 and will invade Gillette Stadium in two weeks for a Monday Night matchup.

“Houston, I think is a legit team. They’re balanced, explosive, win on defense – even though they haven’t the last couple weeks – but there are weeks they can, at least,” said Felger. “There is no other team in the AFC I think should beat New England. I would be disappointed if the Patriots lost to any other team in any place other than Houston in Houston.”

“Denver is a scary team in some respects, but in others, as long as I see Jack Del Rio coaching that defense I’m not losing sleep,” added Felger. “Here is what scares me about Denver. Their schedule is Tampa Bay, at Oakland, at Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City… They’re 12-4, at worst. I think there is a chance Denver gets the second seed, and then they’re in Denver (for the playoffs). Still, the Pats can win that game.”

“I don’t care what stadium they’re in, they should beat Denver, Pittsburgh, Baltimore; the Pats are better than those teams,” said Felger.

Your turn: Are the Patriots a Super Bowl team? Which AFC opponents could stand in their way? Sound off in the comments section!


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