The New England Patriots are 10-2 on the season, but they've lost two in a row after starting the season undefeated and are currently the three-seed in the AFC behind the Bengals and Broncos. Despite their recent struggles, the Pats are still legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Here are three things we know about them after the first 12 games of the season.
Tom Brady hasn't lost a step
Even though he's 38 years old, Brady leads the NFL in passing yards (3,912) and touchdowns (31) while only throwing six interceptions. As a result, New England ranks third in the league in total offense and second in points scored. The Patriots' offense is still playing like the well-oiled machine we've come to expect from them, though its taken a bit of hit recently because...
Injuries are killing New England
The Patriots' top four receivers have all missed time, and three of the four are still out for the foreseeable future. Starting running back Dion Lewis is out for the year with a torn ACL, Julian Edelman is out for the regular season with a foot injury (though he could return for the playoffs), and tight end Rob Gronkowski is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Both of New England's losses have come without any of this trio available, and it could limit them for the rest of the regular season - causing them to miss out on a first-round bye in the postseason.
They don't need a running game
New England is one of the best teams in the league despite ranking 28th in the league in rushing. The Patriots score 31.2 points per game, but are the only team that averages at least 26 per game that ranks outside of the top 10 in rushing. It's gotten even worse without Lewis, as LeGarrette Blount (650 yards) is the only player that has over 59 yards on the season.