One of the most prominent arguments about the fate of the Patriots' 2023 season has been that they are guaranteed a last-place spot in the AFC East, with the three other teams in the division vastly improving this offseason.
The Jets' trade for Aaron Rodgers put those doubting New England over the top, stating New York was now the team to beat in the East and the favorite to represent the conference in the Super Bowl.
But after watching week one of the NFL season unfold, the proclamation that the Patriots have no chance this season seems to be a distant memory now.
The Dolphins had a big test against the Chargers on Sunday, and it took until the final minutes of the game for Miami to finally secure the win by just two points. Their offense was explosive, of course, but their secondary was questionable throughout the game.
Then there was the Bills vs. the Jets on Monday Night Football, a roller coaster of a game that kept NFL fans on their toes for over three hours. Aaron Rodgers went down with an Achilles injury on New York's first drive, ending his season after being deemed the piece that put the team on the map this year.
And Josh Allen looked like his rookie self, throwing three interceptions (to the same Jets cornerback) and losing a fumble, all resulting in an overtime loss by a punt return touchdown.
The performance of the Patriots' division mates put their showing against the reigning NFC Champion Eagles into more perspective. It was a game that no one expected them to be really competitive in or win, but they took Philadelphia to task after falling behind early with two costly turnovers.
Despite their comeback, most analysts didn't have much to say about the Patriots' performance since the consensus believed they had no chance. But surprisingly, after the game was finished, Tony Romo, who had just commentated the matchup, expressed his belief in their chances to be a competitive team this year.
Because of Romo's back-and-forth opinions on nearly every team in the league except for the Chiefs, it was a shocking take to hear from the former quarterback. He is one of the few in the NFL media sphere who has had anything positive to say about the Patriots team as a whole, not limiting compliments to just the defense.
Although the Bills vs. Jets game hadn't occurred yet, Romo's opinion is even more spot on. They may not win the division or get into the playoffs since the AFC has gotten more difficult in recent years, but it's pretty fair to assume the Patriots will be a much better team than anticipated this year.