BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots sit at 5-2 on the season following their win over the New York Jets on Thursday night, good for first in the AFC East and tied for second overall in the AFC.
The Denver Broncos are ahead of everyone at 5-1 following their 42-17 trouncing of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football, and look like the cream of the crop in the AFC. So seven weeks into the season, and with a Patriots-Broncos showdown less than two weeks away, it’s a good time to take a look at where New England measures up against Denver.
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98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones says the Patriots have a long way to go to be classified “elite” alongside the Broncos, but they still have time to get there.
“Is there any doubt where the Patriots are in the hierarchy of the AFC? And when I say that I mean, is there any doubt that, right now, the Patriots aren’t there,” he said, turned off by their tight game against the Jets on Thursday night. “Watching the Patriots the last couple of weeks, watching them Thursday night against a Jets team who ran all over them, dominated time of possession in that game, didn’t punt until late in the third quarter, and still it came down to a field goal the Patriots had to block. Watching them at home against New York, and then watching the Broncos at home against San Francisco… is there any doubt watching the Broncos that there is a significant gap to close.
“Denver’s embarrassment of riches on offense is even more noticeable when they go against a defense like San Francisco, like a team in San Francisco,” said Jones. “When you watch the Broncos Sunday night and the Patriots on Thursday, it feels like a significant and sizable gap. That doesn’t mean the Patriots can’t close it or get there at some point.”
Rich Keefe agrees that the Patriots don’t stack up to the Broncos just yet, but they are in that next tier of playoff teams in the AFC.
“Going into the season I thought the Patriots had closed the gap. Maybe I bought too much into Darrelle Revis and not enough into some of the additions Denver made on defense,” said Keefe. “I feel the same now as I did after Week 2 or 3, when it was suddenly Denver and everyone else — or Denver, a group of playoff teams, and then the awful teams. I don’t think the Patriots are any worse than a Cincinnati, Kansas City, San Diego and Indianapolis. I know they had a blowout win and a blowout loss to two of those teams, but at least at this point, Denver is head and shoulders above everyone else at this point.”
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For Jones the Broncos’ handling of the 49ers on Sunday night was eye-opening, because of how well they played on the defensive side of the ball.
“The Broncos are doing it on defense, they have an embarrassment of riches on offense, and then you have Peyton Manning just slinging it all over the field,” said Jones. “We’re going to find out (how they match up) on the field in a couple of weeks. But right now, it feels like there is a sizable gap between those two teams.”
How do you think the Patriots measure up with the Denver Broncos? Listen to the full discussion here.
Adam also welcomed on Pat Imig of Cold Hard Football Facts to discuss where Denver has improved the most, whether Seattle is suffering from a Super Bowl hangover, and if the Cowboys are a legit contender:
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