From Toucher and Rich
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BOSTON (CBS) – The New England Patriots are now 4-0 on the season after Sunday night’s 30-23 win over the Falcons in Atlanta.
The Patriots defense held on despite losing nose tackle Vince Wilfork in the first quarter, who is out for the year after suffering a torn Achilles.
Will the Patriots be able to bounce back from the big loss of Wilfork? Analyst for the NFL Today and WFAN host Boomer Esiason joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich for his weekly call on Monday, and said if any team can do it, it’s the Patriots.
“If there is a team in the NFL that can overcome things it’s the Patriots,” said Esiason. ”I would say the Patriots are as resilient as a team there is in the NFL. Bill Belichick is always ‘the next man up.’”
Boomer was once again impressed by the Patriots defense, who finally got their chance to show what they can do against a skilled quarterback and offense.
“There is no question that a young group of guys is actually growing up together and playing well. I still think you have to recognize who they play; the first three quarterbacks they played were young quarterbacks that made mistakes. I think they benefited from that,” said Boomer. “But last night’s performance was about as impressive as it gets.”
The Patriots are one of five undefeated teams left in the NFL, and Boomer says once key players start to return on offense, the Patriots could really make some noise.
“My feeling is they are probably a top eight team right now, and when Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola come back, if they can get really rolling on offense they can be a top four team and maybe even a top two team in the AFC. Maybe we’ll see a rematch of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship game,” he said. “It’s a legitimate possibility.”
“Watching the Patriots last night, I don’t know what’s more impressive; what Peyton Manning is doing with his group of receivers, or what Tom Brady is doing with his group of receivers and still winning in spite of the inexperience and youth,” he said.
While he’s impressed with Brady’s play over the first four games, Esiason said what Manning is doing in Denver is historic.
“There is no question in my mind that (Denver’s) offense, with those players around (Manning) and the way he’s playing, is the best the NFL has ever seen,” he said. “The question will be when they visit New England (in Week 12) and the way Bill Belichick plays defense against Peyton, at least the way they did in the past, it’s going to be fascinating. It’s the whole rope-a-dope theory, keep the ball in front of you.”
“I can’t wait for that game. There is a lot football to be played, and the Patriots should be better offensively because Tom will get players back. That game really has a chance to be an all-time great,” he said of the Week 12 matchup.
Boomer also shared his thoughts on the struggling Cincinnati Bengals – the Patriots’ next opponent — and the prospect of an NFL team in LondonL