Hannable: Enough with the 19-0 talk, Patriots are not going undefeated

Ryan Hannable
July 24, 2017 - 11:41 pm

Bob Donnan/USA Today Sports

It could be a long season with the Patriots. 

No, not because of the team being bad or anything. Rather, the narrative of the Patriots going 19-0 and being the greatest NFL team ever assembled. 

The Patriots haven’t even ran a single drill in training camp and there have been numerous debates over the last several weeks of if the team can go undefeated and even legitimate publications predicting a perfect season

It’s not even a case of it being the summer and trying to pass time until the regular season starts, some people genuinely believe it is a legitimate possibility. 

Remember the 2007 season and what that was like on a weekly basis as the season went on? It would be a million times worse with how much sports media has expanded and the virtual 24/7 coverage the NFL gets these days.

Speaking at a youth camp a few weeks ago, Julian Edelman was asked about the possibility.

"I mean, there's no script to this thing,” he said. “There's no camera. This isn't Hollywood. This is real life. When you go out and play in the National Football League, it's one of those things where it is stupid to even think about that. It's never been done. You don't really want to talk about it. My focus is more on trying to get ready for the season, tying to learn your teammates, form your identity. [The 19-0 talk] is stupid. That's it."

The Patriots barely look ahead to the next day of practice and yet there will people asking about a potential perfect season when training camp kicks off this week. (Although Bill Belichick’s response to such a question would be quite entertaining.)

Do people realize how hard it is to go undefeated?

Everyone knows there have been just two teams to go undefeated in the regular season since the 1970 merger — the 1972 Dolphins and the 2007 Patriots. But, did you know there have been just seven teams to win 15 or more regular-season games since the league expanded the schedule to 16 games in 1978? 

Winning in the NFL is hard, probably the hardest league to consistently win in in all of sports. 

The Patriots have had the best teams in the NFL of late and even they have haven’t ever won 15 games.

Specific to this year’s team, their schedule isn’t as easy as people think. 

The most glaring thing which stands out is the back-to-back road games following the bye week — Nov. 12 on a Sunday night in Denver and then Nov. 19 in Mexico City against the Raiders. Before Derek Carr got hurt last year, the Raiders were the second-best team in the AFC. By no means will those games be easy. That is the beginning of a five out of six-game stretch where they will play on the road. It isn’t a easy slate of games either as following those two road contests they return home to face the Dolphins, but then travel to Buffalo, Miami and Pittsburgh in consecutive weeks.

This isn’t even to mention a road game earlier in the season on a Thursday night against a young and upcoming Tampa team and a Super Bowl rematch against the Falcons at home on Oct. 22. 

Look, there’s no question the Patriots are going to be very good and are the odds on favorites to win back-to-back Super Bowls, but the NFL is too good from top to bottom to have a team go undefeated, especially one who has the Patriots’ schedule.

Let’s do everyone a favor, save everyone's time and stop the 19-0 talk because it’s not happening.