It's doubtful that any team, in any sport, ever entered a year with the bar set so high as the 2017 Patriots.
Debating if they'll win the division is, to virtually everyone, like debating if the sun will rise in the East. Conference champions? A given. Another Super Bowl crown? Expected. An undefeated season? There, THAT'S the challenge in many minds.
And to Tom Brady, that's absurd. Beyond absurd.
Speaking on WEEI's Kirk and Callahan this morning -- his preseason appearance tied into the station's annual Jimmy Fund telethon -- Brady shot down the notion that this team compares to any of the five Pats Super Bowl champions, or the 2007 team that went 16-0 in the regular season.
“It's so far from those types of things," Brady said. “I mean, you're talking about some incredible teams that I've had an opportunity to be on, very lucky to be on. This team is so far from where we need to be. We have so far to go.
"It's really unfair to set expectations. It's really a setup -- for this team, we need to be focused on so many other things than what people may think about us or say about us. There's so much improvement we need to make."
Spoken like a true Bill Belichick Patriot. As was his closing thought:
"We'll be able to write our own chapter. Hopefully it's a good one."
Troy Brown, Michael Felger, Charlie Weis and Albert Breer react to Trump's comments on Friday and the Patriots statement during the anthem on Sunday.
FOXBORO -- Game notes from the Patriots' 36-33 victory over the Texans . . .
-- New England ended Houston’s streak of 31 straight games (including the postseason) without allowing a 300-yard passer by throwing for 378 yards against the Texans. It was the first 300-yard game against Houston since the Jaguars had 331 yards at Jacksonville on Oct. 18, 2015.
-- Tom Brady now has eight career games in which he's thrown a game-winning touchdown pass in the final minut. He now has 52 career victories after facing a fourth-quarter deficit.
-- Brady threw for five touchdowns in a game for the 27th time in team history, the third-most four-touchdown games in NFL history. He also set an NFL record with his 22nd game with four or more touchdowns and no interceptions. It is Brady’s sixth game with five or more touchdowns, tied with Dan Marino for the third-most all-time. It is his sixth game with five or more touchdowns and no interceptions, second to Drew Brees (7).
-- Brady followed a 447-yard effort the week before at New Orleans with a 378-yard effort against Houston. He has now followed a 400-yard game with a 300-yard game six times. (2002, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016).
-- Brady had 447 yards at New Orleans and 378 yards against Houston for 825 yards in the last two weeks. It is the second-most yards in team history in a two-week span. Brady had 940 yards (517 and 423) to start the 2011 season with 517 at Miami on Sept. 12, 2011, followed by 423 yards vs. San Diego on Sept. 18 2011. Brady’s 940 yards ranks second all-time in consecutive games to Phil Simms, who holds the record with 945 yards (432 yards and 513 yards).
-- Brady had his sixth straight game with no interceptions. He now has a streak of 215 straight pass attempts without an interception.
-- Rob Gronkowski scored his 70th career touchdown reception on a five-yard pass from Brady in the first quarter and became the fastest tight end to reach 70 career touchdown receptions, doing so in his 91st career game.