Patriots Clear Biggest Hurdle to 16-0 with Comeback Win over Giants

Mike Freeman@@mikefreemanNFLNFL National Lead WriterNovember 16, 2015

New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski (87) scores a touchdown in front of New York Giants' Jayron Hosley (28) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday Nov. 15, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

No one is beating them. No one. Because they are talented and deep and, yes, still angry.

If the Patriots' nemesis, their kryptonite in the Giants—the one team that has been able to bring them to their kneescannot beat them, no one can.

Patriots 27, Giants 26, Curses 0.

Sunday at MetLife Stadium was the best chance for the Patriots to lose and here they are again, 9-0. Saying New England is going to go 16-0 isn't a taketh that's hoteth. This is the reality. Go down the list of remaining opponents on the Patriots' schedule and show me one that has a legitimate chance of beating them.

They've already demolished Buffalo. Peyton Manning just JaMarcus Russelled himself to the bench. He's a shell of himself and Brock Osweiler isn't beating Bill Belichick. The Eagles? Um, no. The Texans? Yeah, sure. Not the Titans, not the Jets, and the Patriots already hammered the Dolphins.

Patriots' remaining games
11/29at Broncos7-2
12/13at Texans3-5
12/27at Jets5-4
1/3at Dolphins4-5

You say Patriots players are getting injured at a remarkable rate. I say they've had 19 offensive line changes, lost their best running back, lost Julian Edelman, and they've still won.

One guy goes down and they adapt, because Tom Brady could make you and me into Pro Bowlers.

They may not roll teams 40-10, but they will now win 25-10.

And let's not forget what is truly fueling them: hate. The Patriots' Revenge Tour reads like a completed grocery list. Only instead of shopping for eggs and gluten-free pasta, the Patriots are rolling through football like a five-year-old controlling the grocery cart for the first time.

Beat the team that ratted us out...check.

Shut Rex Ryan's big mouthagain...check.

Beat down the Dolphinsagain...check. Give the Jets a reality check...checkaroo.

Beat the team that everyone always says gives us trouble...blah, blah, blah...the Giants...check. Check. Check.

For now, for right now, they are playing some of the most impressive football this sport has ever seen. No matter how many bodies they lose, no matter who gets hurt, they keep steamrolling along. Anger, it seems, is a better propellant than warp drive.

The Patriots have now won 12 straight games and clinched their 15th straight winning season. We keep thinking the injuries will slow them or Brady will slow down. But it hasn't happened.

Their 20-10 deficit with 5:30 left in the third quarter was their largest of the season, and they still won. They adapt, like the Borg. When one piece is hurt, another steps in. It's no coincidence Rob Gronkowski's 76-yard score was longest of his career. 

Watching Brady on the field after the game, he was joyous. But then, watching him in his press conference, he was all business again. He even, at times, looked angry. 

The Patriots' Revenge Tour list is deep, with many more names to cross off, but one of the biggest names was "New York Giants." As ESPN's Adam Schefter noted, New York was the only team the Patriots had failed to defeat since the start of the 2008 calendar year.

The Giants, as personified by Tom Coughlin, are one of only two or three franchises in the sport that don't fear the Patriots. Almost every other team does, and the Patriots feed off this fear. Coughlin is a Hall of Fame coach and it's showed, as he's beaten Belichick in two Super Bowls and was 5-1 against him heading into this Week 10 showdown.

What the Patriots are showing is that history doesn't matter. This is what the Revenge Tour does. It's fueled by anger and resentment over Deflategate (though they deny this). Combine that with Brady seemingly going back in time, playing like he's 28, and you get a 9-0 New England team that might not lose a game all year.

The Giants...the Jets...Ted Wells...atmospheric conditions...age...Odell Beckham...injuries. ...  Nothing is slowing them down.

In the past, especially in New York's Super Bowl wins over New England, the Giants were able to use dominant defensive play to slow down the Patriots offense. On Sunday, the Patriots had to withstand the crazy good Beckham, who, in just his second year, is already having a remarkable career.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 15:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants cannot hold onto the ball which is broken up in the end zone by  Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots in the fourth Quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on Nove
Al Bello/Getty Images

Beckham's 87-yard touchdown was the longest of his career. Like almost everyone else, the Patriots didn't really have an answer for Beckham.

No, this wasn't your typical dominating Patriots win. Far from it. The Giants love playing them and pushing them to the brink, so the closeness of the contest was no surprise. And it wasn't just Beckham, of course. Eli Manning, who has quietly put together a solid season, was as accurate as Brady.

But with just over two minutes left, Beckham couldn't complete a touchdown catch when Malcolm Butler knocked it from his grip. The Giants took a 26-24 lead on a field goal instead of a possible 31-24 lead (complete with a two-point conversion). And two points wasn't a big enough lead when Brady got the ball back with 1:47 on the clock.

The way the Patriots are winning this season is, in many ways, more impressive than anything they've done in the regular season during the Belichick and Brady era. What we are watching with this team is what it must have been like to see Paul Brown's teams or Lombardi's Packers or Landry's Cowboys or Noll's Steelers.

(The chorus of "none of those teams cheated" begins in 3, 2, 1...)

A marker of the Patriots' consistency is this number from ESPN.com's Mike Reiss: They have now scored in 35 straight quarters. That is the longest such streak in NFL history. The next-closest are the 2005 Colts (31) and 1999-2000 Rams (31). 

And it seems, with just seven games to go, it may be only a matter of time before we talk about another item on the Patriots' Revenge Tour list—an undefeated regular season.


Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.


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