Tom Blair of NFL.com ranked the 10 best teams of the last decade in one of his recent articles on NFL.com. Coming in at no. 4 was the 2016 New England Patriots, who were ranked behind the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles (no. 3), the 2015 Carolina Panthers (no. 2), and the 2013 Seattle Seahawks (no. 1).
The Patriots during the 2016 season went 12-4 and were (per Blair):
- No. 4 overall offense (386.3 ypg)
- 3rd in scoring (27.6 ppg)
- 8th overall defense (326.4 ypg)
- 1st in points allowed (15.6 ppg; no. 8 of decade)
- 1st in point differential (191; no. 8 of decade)
Here is what Blair had to say about his positioning of New England on the list.
"It was a struggle to pick the best Patriots team of the decade, with the squads from 2010, '12, '14 and '17 earning strong consideration. But the 2016 edition both dominated the regular season and also won a Lombardi Trophy, which, it turns out, is hard to do. This was not Tom Brady's best season, while tight end Rob Gronkowski struggled to stay on the field. And yet, New England just kept winning. After a few years of appearing to give the rest of the NFL a sporting chance, the Patriots stopped fooling around and took complete control of the AFC, stomping their way to the first of three straight conference titles. This team gets bonus points for helping Brady enter the surreal, unprecedented phase of his career as a 39-and-over quarterback who can't be stopped."