What has been the Patriots most impressive win this year?

This question can be narrowed down to three games. The 43-17 blowout of the Bengals in Week 5, the 43-21 emasculation of the Broncos in Week 9, and the 42-20 embarrassment of the Colts on the road this past Sunday night.

The Bengals win was impressive, but doesn't compare to the other two. It did follow a blowout loss, but it didn't feel as dominant as the other games.

The Broncos win was impressive because they were playing the supposed best team in the AFC, and Peyton Manning had been hot all year, posing a serious threat to the Patriots secondary. Denver was also the first good defense New England would be facing in quite a few weeks. Well, Tom Brady and company shredded the Denver defense for 43 points, and the defense held a high powered Denver offense that was averaging over 30 points a game, to just 21 points. In classic Bill Belichick fashion, he put Peyton Manning in a pretzel that afternoon. It was a statement game for New England on both sides of the ball, and proved their winning streak was not a product of poor competition. The win also put them atop the AFC.

Sunday nights win against the Colts was quite the game too. It came on the road, where New England was 3 point underdogs. The defense was again facing a high powered offense, but the offense wasn't facing as tough of a defense. Brady played poorly in the first half, throwing 2 interceptions and completing just over 50% of his passes. The second half was a different story. Brady had a perfect passer rating and 2 touchdowns. The defense, on the other hand, was great all game. As Andrew Luck put it, they forced the Colts to be one dimensional, again holding a team averaging more than 30 points to just 20 points. It proved the previous week was no fluke for the defense. It proved this defense is legit, and the offense can still blowout a team when their quarterback only plays well for two quarters. That's scary.

Oh, did I mention Jonas Gray and his 199 yards and 4 touchdowns? No? Well that was certainly impressive, especially when you consider the Colts are better known for their run defense than pass defense. Speaking of run defense, the Patriots essentially held the Colts to zero yards rushing (Running backs had 4 yards, and Luck scrambled for 15).

Sundays win against the Colts confirmed what we already knew. It was a very impressive win, but not as impressive as the win against the Broncos, and here's why:

Denver is better than Indianapolis. Nobody expected the Patriots to win, in fact NFL Network analysts all picked Denver. Denver was the best team in the AFC, and not only did the Patriots beat them, they blew them out and made Peyton Manning look bad for the first time all season. If the league didn't know before that game, it let everyone know the Patriots were a legitimate Super Bowl contender. That's why the win against Denver is the most impressive of the season.

The Patriots have a tough second half schedule, so just about any win they have will be impressive. But when we look back on the season when it's all over, we'll look to Week 9 against the Denver Broncos as the impressive win that sparked a run to, hopefully, a Super Bowl victory. That game certainly gave the fans Super Bowl dreams.

Think there's another more impressive win? Feel free to give us your opinion below.

-Brian Thibodeau

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