DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A END-ALL CONCLUSION... NO ONE NEEDS TO PROVE THE PATRIOTS HAVE BEEN GREAT THIS SEASON... BUT THIS IS TO LEVEL THE FIELD TO FIND OUT WHERE TEAMS STAND BASED ON THE COMPETITION THEY'VE PLAYED. There are so many message board amateurs, mostly fans of other teams, that are claiming the Patriots have beaten up on a bunch of weak teams, citing that these teams are statistically among the worst in the league. So I used a simple formula. How many points and points allowed have the Pats opponents averaged, when they are NOT playing the Pats... and therefore what is the Patriots margin of victory, adjusted against what those teams' averages are. Here is what I concluded: Average point differential for Jets, Chargers, Bills, Bengals, Browns: 22.9 - 24.1 (-1.2) These teams vs. the Patriots- 13 - 36.4 (-23.4) So all of these "horrible" teams have, on a given Sunday when not playing us, are basically scoring the same as they are allowing. The Patriots point differential is 22.2 above what you should expect from an average team. A difference of over three touchdowns. Basically the Patriots have caused these teams to look statistically bad, and then have been discredited because the teams look bad on paper. Here is a rundown of some of the other teams that claim they've been as good as the Patriots thus far. Colts Opponents average- 18.5 - 18.1 (+.4) Opponents average vs. Colts- 17.6 - 32.8 (-15.2) Colts adjusted differential- 15.6 The Colts defense, you may note, is allowing only .5 points less than average. And so much for the powerhouse teams they've been playing. For all the talk about a difficult schedule, the Colts' opponents have been barely better than the Pats' opponents. However the Colts are scoring 14.3 adjusted, while the Pats are at 14.2. Cowboys Opponents average- 15.3 - 22.9 (-7.6) Opponents average vs. Cowboys- 18 - 37.8 (-19.8) Cowboys adjusted differential- 12.2 You might have noticed that the Cowboys have a below average defense, allowing almost three points more per game than these teams are putting up. Also, these teams are averaging a loss of over over a TD to other teams. A very easy schedule so far. Steelers Opponents average- 20.4 - 21.1 (-.7) Opponents average vs. Steelers- 9.4 - 26.4 (-19) Steelers adjusted differential- 18.3 They have a difference of 11 less points allowed than average. The Patriots still have a slight edge with 11.1 less points allowed, but it's close. The Steelers have been statistically better than the Colts and Cowboys, not considering their loss to Arizona. Conclusion: Using objective analysis, and taking into account the strength of of schedule, the Patriots are currently 3.9 points ahead of the Steelers, 6.2 points ahead of the Colts, and 10 points ahead of the Cowboys.