NEW YORK (AP) Comments on the New England Patriots by the AP Pro32 panel (ranking in parentheses):
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2)
Chris Berman (ESPN, 1) - Hard to keep out of the top spot when all you do is win.
Clifton Brown (Sporting News, 1) - Have great chance for first-round bye after clinching AFC East.
Cris Collinsworth (NBC Sports, 1)
Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio, 4) - Still don't trust the defense, but they do have Brady and the No. 1 offense that's averaging 36 ppg.
Bob Glauber (Newsday, 3) - Pats clinch fourth straight AFC East title, although they weren't the offensive juggernaut against Miami we'd been used to seeing. Nothing wrong with grinding one out. AFC championship game preview against Houston on Monday?
Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News, 4) - The Patriots have snapped the ball 883 times on offense and committed only nine turnovers. Most NFL teams commit more turnovers in a game than New England does in a month.
Clark Judge (CBSSports.com, 4) - So they won the AFC East. They always win the AFC East. The real barometer comes in this month's games vs. Houston and San Francisco.
Ira Kaufman (Tampa Tribune, 3) - When the Pats don't score 40 points, Boston residents lower their flags.
Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com, 3) - Brady has too many weapons to be stopped and they can run the ball to close out games. The defense is improving.
John Lynch (Fox Sports, 3) - What a showdown coming with the Texans on Monday night.
Alex Marvez (Foxsports.com, 2) - The outcome of upcoming home games against Houston and San Francisco will largely determine whether the Patriots can land a first-round playoff bye.
Dan Pompei (Chicago Tribune, 3) - They have won six straight and already clinched the AFC East. Can they stay on this tear through February?