The NFL has been around for almost 100 years, and during that time, we have seen a handful of very successful teams, and over the past two decades, the New England Patriots have joined that illustrious list. Since 2001, the Patriots have been to 11 Super Bowls, and they have come out of those games with 6 championships, which currently puts them in a tie for the most titles ever, and they have accomplished all this with two constants: head coach Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady, who is possibly the best quarterback in history.
Based on their performance so far this season, it looks like New England is destined for another championship run, as very few teams have what it takes to beat this juggernaut. The beauty of sports though, is the fact that anyone can be beaten at any time, no matter how good they are, and this article will identify ten teams who can beat the Patriots this season, and it will also show ten teams who have no chance of beating them.
20 Seattle Seahawks: Can Beat Them
If it were not for Pete Carroll making a terrible play call in the dying seconds of the 2014 Super Bowl, the Patriots would have one less Lombardi Trophy in their display case. Since then, the Seahawks have had their ups and downs, but it looks like they have gotten their house back in order. Thanks to CBS Sports, we know that Russell Wilson has the league's 2nd best quarterback rating, which is why the team's overall offense ranks 6th, and when you combine those stats with a defense known for showing up in big moments, you get a combination that could dethrone New England.
19 Houston Texans: Can Beat Them
The Texans are set to face the Patriots in week 13, and if New England is still undefeated at that point, Houston may be the ones to put them in the loss column. Houston's defense has caused problems for oppositions for years, which is why they can pull off an upset at any time. Aside from their defense, the Texans have now developed a potent offense, one which ESPN currently ranks 5th overall, which makes them a prime contender to beat New England in the regular season, and maybe even the playoffs.
18 Miami Dolphins: No Chance
The Miami Dolphins have been in a perpetual rebuild for years now, and in the final week of the regular season, they will play a New England team that will most likely be resting its best players. In such a scenario, Miami would normally have the advantage, but according to the NFL's own stats, they currently rank near the bottom of almost every major offensive and defensive category. These numbers will likely not be getting any better as the season continues, and with Belichick coaching, the Dolphins would probably lose the game even if they faced the Patriots' practice squad.
17 Cincinnati Bengals: No Chance
After several mediocre seasons, the Cincinnati Bengals have officially entered a rebuilding phase, and fortunately for the Patriots, they get to play them in December. According to CBS Sports, the Bengals are near the bottom when it comes to overall offence, which means that New England's defense will not have that much work to do. It is Cincinnati's defense that truly gives them no chance at winning though, as they currently have the worst defense in the entire NFL, which means Brady could easily throw at least four touchdowns that game.
16 Denver Broncos: Can Beat Them
The Broncos are fighting for a playoff spot, but if they were to make it, and get all the way to the Super Bowl, we may get a repeat of the 2015 championship game. The Flacco-led offense is ranked 25th by ESPN, which is terrible, but they also happen to have the league's 4th best defense. Denver's defense has proved in the past that they are capable of winning a big game all on their own by completely shutting down an offense like New England's, which tends to put up a lot of points.
15 Jacksonville Jaguars: Can Beat Them
For the remainder of his career, Nick Foles will be remembered for outperforming Tom Brady in the 2017 Super Bowl, and now that he is with Jacksonville, he gives the floundering franchise a real shot at finally winning playoff games. The Jags have a decent defense, but they have managed to put together an offense that CBS Sports ranks 9th overall. What is interesting about their offense though, is the fact that it has performed well despite Foles being out all year with an injury, but he is coming back, and should they make the playoffs, he will get to show the world that he is indeed Patriot kryptonite.
14 Carolina Panthers: No Chance
This matchup would only happen in the Super Bowl, but if it were to happen, the Patriots would easily clinch their 7th championship. The Panthers have a decent defense, which could get them to the big game, but Tom Brady has picked apart decent defenses his entire career, so there would be no issue there. On the offensive side of the ball, Carolina has issues at quarterback, and if they were to start Cam Newton, they would essentially be waving the white flag, as Newton has shown that he cannot handle strong defenses.
13 Indianapolis Colts: No Chance
The Colts received a major blow during the offseason when Andrew Luck suddenly retired, but despite losing their starting QB, they were still able to win at least four games. Thanks to CBS Sports, we know that the Colts are currently ranked somewhere in the middle in terms of their overall offence and defense, which is fine, but if they face New England in the playoffs, fine is not going to cut it. Jacoby Brissett is the Colts' new QB, and he has never started a playoff game, which is not a good thing, especially if he faces an experienced Patriots defense.
12 Baltimore Ravens: Can Beat Them
It looks like the Ravens are going to easily win their division, which means that they will likely meet the Patriots in the playoffs, and that has the making of a great game. The NFL may rank the Ravens 13th when it comes to overall defense, but they also currently possess the 2nd best offense which makes them a nightmare to play against, especially when they run the ball. There is a chance that they will not beat the Pats during the regular season, but the playoffs are a different story, and Lamar Jackson is not a rookie QB anymore.
11 Oakland Raiders: Can Beat Them
Thanks to ESPN, we know that the Raiders have the 13th best offense, and the 23rd best defense, which does not sound all that impressive, but the team has already exceeded people's expectations this season. This Oakland team has the potential to be this year's Eagles, and we all know how well the Patriots do against those types of teams in championship games. This also happens to be the Raiders' swan song season in Oakland, which gives every member on the roster and coaching staff extra incentive to win it all.
10 Chicago Bears: No Chance
If the Bears were to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl, the only people who would be entertained would be Patriots fans. According to ESPN, the Bears currently have the 10th best defense, which would normally give them a fighting chance against someone like New England, but their offense, for the most part, is horrendous. Chicago's offense currently ranks 29th in the league, and those numbers do not tend to fluctuate that much as the season continues, which means that only a miracle would allow them to beat the Pats' top rated defense.
9 Philadelphia Eagles: No Chance
In 2017, the Eagles beat New England in the Super Bowl, and on November 17, they will get the chance to beat them again, but things will be much harder this time around. This Eagles team is not the same one from two years ago, with the main difference being that Nick Foles is now the quarterback for the Jaguars. The NFL's statisticians have determined that Philadelphia possesses the 23rd best offence with Carson Wentz at QB, but they also have the 18th best defense, which does not make them much of a threat.
8 Buffalo Bills: Can Beat Them
Since they are in the same division, the Buffalo Bills have been losing to the Patriots for years, but now that they seem to have undergone a proper rebuild, their future is looking bright. The Bills have the 17th best offence according to the NFL, and their running game ranks in the top ten, but what would really bother the Patriots, is the Bills' defense, which currently ranks 3rd overall. In their previous meeting in week 4, New England edged out a win, but they play again in week 16, and the Bills will have a lot more at stake at that point than the Patriots, which means that they will play much harder than they did before.
7 Minnesota Vikings: Can Beat Them
If the Patriots were to play the Vikings this season, it would be in the Super Bowl, and it would undoubtedly be an exciting affair. The Vikings are battling for the top spot in their division, and according to CBS Sports, both their offense and defense rank in the top five, which makes them one of the more threatening teams in the NFL. The Patriots may have an amazing defense, but even they cannot deal with a running game that is as explosive as the Vikings' for an entire game.
6 Los Angeles Rams: No Chance
Last year we saw the Patriots beat the Rams to win their 6th championship, and if they were to meet in the big game again this year, history would probably repeat itself. According to ESPN, the Rams possess the 9th best defense in the league, which means they could give Tom Brady some trouble again, but just like last year, their problem will likely be their QB. The Rams currently have the 12th best offense with Jared Goff, who currently has the 27th best QB rating, which means his teammates are picking up the slack again.
5 Dallas Cowboys: No Chance
As far as the regular season goes, the Patriot's toughest game may be against the Dallas Cowboys on November 24. Per the NFL, the Cowboys have the league's best overall offense, which is being led by Dak Prescott who currently has the best QB rating; and they also happen to have the 6th best defense. The Cowboys have not dealt with a defense as good as New England's, and their offense may get completely neutralized seeing as the Pats are the second best team in the league when it comes to stopping an opponent's passing and rushing game.
4 Green Bay Packers: Can Beat Them
Aaron Rodgers has had injury problems the past few years, but he appears to be back to his old self, which is great for Green Bay, as he happens to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The league ranks the Packers as the 26th best defensive team, but thanks to Rogers, they have the 11th best offense. Normally that kind of offense would not be able to keep up with a top ranked defense, but Rogers, like Brady, has proven that he is capable of carrying his team to victory in big games.
3 New Orleans Saints: Can Beat Them
If it was not for a terrible call by the refs, New Orleans would have been the team to face the Patriots in last year's Super Bowl, and had that happened, New England would have actually been a slight underdog. The Saints are poised to runaway with their division, and they have done so despite their Hall of Fame quarterback being out a month with a thumb injury. According to ESPN, the Saint's have the 7th best defense and the 19th best offense, but with Brees coming back soon, those offensive stats will shoot back up, making them championship contenders yet again.
2 San Francisco 49ers: No Chance
San Francisco has the 7th best offense according to CBS Sports, as well as the 2nd best defense, which means that they could very well come out of the NFC to face the Patriots in what would be an interesting Super Bowl. Jimmy Garoppolo won two championships as Brady's back-up, making him the heir apparent to the Patriots offense, but they traded him to the 49ers in 2017 instead. Normally, an athlete would love to play against their former team in a championship game, but in this case, it would give Garoppolo even more pressure, and when untested QBs feel pressured, they make costly mistakes.
1 Kansas City Chiefs: No Chance
Coming into the season, many NFL insiders picked the Kansas City Chiefs as Super Bowl favorites, and they mainly did this because of Patrick Mahomes being an outstanding quarterback. ESPN lists the Chiefs as having the 24th best defense, but thanks to their QB, they have the 3rd best offense. Mahomes is dealing with a knee issue right now, which is very concerning, because if he is not 100%, the Chiefs have no chance of beating a team in the Super Bowl that is as experienced and defensively sound as the Patriots.
Sources: nfl.com, ESPN.com, cbssports.com