Are the Patriots an elite team?

Are the Patriots an elite team?
October 15, 2013, 1:45 am
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The Patriots are 5-1, believe it or not. And with games coming up against the Jets, Dolphins, and Steelers, they could be 8-1 heading into their Bye Week.

But what's in a record? Not much this time around, if you're the Boston Globe's Bob Ryan, who joined Bob Neumeier and Kirk Minihane on Sports Tonight.

"The old Parcells line, 'You are what your record says you are.' [No.] It's a blessing," Ryan said of their record. "The schedule has helped them get there. Yesterday was fair, there's no ifs, ands, or buts, they did it. But now, let's see what team they are able to put on the field against the Jets."

The Patriots are banged up with Aqib Talib, Jerod Mayo, and Danny Amendola the newest injuries. Amendola will almost certainly miss Sunday's game, but the news on Talib and Mayo isn't out yet.

Speaking of Talib, the guys discuss if he's been the best defensive player in the NFL this season.

"If he isn't then I don't know what the definition is," Minihane said. "What you've seen from him so far has been unbelievable."

Ryan agrees, saying that Talib is "irreplaceable."

And finally, the discussion turns to RobGronkowski, who could miss yet another game this week. Ryan isn't rushing him back though.

"I go back to Derrick Rose," Ryan said. "I was all on his side last year when all the controversy was going on in the playoffs, because he knows his body, he knows himself, and I just think Gronkowski I'm going to put him in the same category. When he feels he's absolutely ready to play and be Rob Gronkowski and not risk re-injury, then he'll play."

The Pats could certainly use him. But again, they've won five out of six without him this season. Would you consider New England an elite team? Let us know in the comments section.