Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 12/14/12

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In front of a national TV audience on Monday night, Tom Brady and company showed the world why they should be considered to be Super Bowl favorites, and it’s quite clear that they should be.  After a 42-14 defeat of the then 11-1 Houston Texans, the Patriots proved that they are the top team in the NFL. The Patriots have had a number of lopsided wins, aside from Monday night’s big win.  They put up 52 points on the Bills, 45 on the Rams, 59 on the playoff-bound Colts, and 49 points on Thanksgiving against an ailing Jets squad.  But through all of these blowouts, one thing remained consistent – the lack of a quality blowout against a quality team.  And then Monday night happened. Jerod Mayo (AP) The Patriots have always been an offensive juggernaut over the last decade plus, but one thing that has lacked in past years has been a solid defense.  Named the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008, Jerod Mayo has been a rock for the linebacking core of the Patriots, but perhaps the biggest move was the mid-season acquisition of cornerback Aqib Talib from the Buccaneers. Talib was acquired for just a fourth rounder, and his presence is already paying dividends for the Patriots.  Other defensive standouts for the Patriots include the always-present Vince Wilfork, who cannot be missed on the field, and Devin McCourty. But what has certainly carried the Patriots to the Super Bowl twice in the last five years and throughout the Tom Brady era has been the offensive unit.  Currently, the Patriots are scoring an average of 36 points per game, just short of the NFL-record 37 points per game they scored in 2007.  Tom Brady is just unreal, and he showed the world that on Monday, torching the Texans’ defense for 296 yards and four touchdowns, including a perfectly executed play action bomb to Brandon Lloyd. After Monday’s game, Brady has thrown for 3,833 yards on the season, and 29 touchdowns.  He is projecting to throw for 4,718 yards and 36 touchdowns on the season, with just a projected five interceptions. Currently Brady’s QB rating is a 104.2, higher than his career average of 97.0.  So what is helping Brady put up these outstanding numbers?  There are a few things. First, credit has to be given to his offensive line.  Although the Patriots often become a throw-happy team, the offensive line has only allowed Brady to be sacked twenty times, fourth best in the league.  The starting O-line gives Brady enormous amounts of time to throw, but most importantly, is helping the team improve in their running game. Second, the Patriots rushing attack has suddenly become formidable.  Featuring a three-headed running back combo of Steven Ridley, Shane Vereen, and Danny Woodhead, the Patriots are seventh in the league in total rushing yards, and average 125.5 yards per game, more impressive than their 110.3 yards per game a year ago.  The increase in rushes per game have led the Patriots to be able to develop the play action, which only makes Tom Brady more lethal by giving his wide receivers more separation, and giving him more time in the pocket. via dhbrownsports.com Finally, third, the wide receiving and tight end core of the Patriots is absolutely insane.  The combo of tight ends in Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski is absolutely insane.  Add in wide receivers like Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Julian Edelman, and Donte Stallworth, and you have perhaps the most formidable receiving corps in the league.  The Patriots are currently averaging 296.2 receiving yards per game.  In the red zone, the New England offense is scoring touchdowns roughly 68 percent of the time, third highest in the league, and over their last three games, a staggering 80 percent of the time.With these kinds of weapons, it isn’t hard to see why Tom Brady is just so dominant in all areas of the football field. At this point, it would not be surprising to see Tom Brady hoisting the Lombardi trophy come early February 2013 because of all of the weapons he has that are currently being put together.  Pair that with a lethal coaching duo of Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and you have an offense that is currently putting up the most points per game by an eight-point margin.  It seems as if nobody can stop them on the football field, and when they are stopped, they’re just going to come back and score on the next drive. New England seems primed to make another playoff run, and do not be surprised when they do, because after another year of disappointment, it’s Lombardi Trophy or bust for New England this season. -Weingold

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