Everyone thought this would be a close game. They thought that about the Jets game on Monday night, too.

Everyone thought the weather would have been a major factor. Tom Brady could have played in the Metrodome and executed the offense.

Let’s get one thing straight – teams aren’t taking the New England Patriots lightly. It just looks that way. The Patriots are executing at such a high level in just about every facet of the game that teams just can’t keep up.

People talk about statistics and that’s ok. I’m a stat guy myself. I just hope people look at the right statistics. There’s one in particular that explains why the Patriots look great. The Patriots have an NFL-best turnover differential of +18. That statistic suggests just two things – the Patriots don’t give it up. They just take it away.

Every week the Patriots defense looks better and better and while they may give up some yards, the team’s athleticism, coupled with more gameday experience, are able to force turnovers and make teams pay for them. Yesterday’s game was no different when Devin McCourty alertly stripped the ball while falling backwards making a tackle on Johnny Knox and Gary Guyton brought it back for a touchdown.

Sunday’s game marked the fifth-straight win for the Patriots and during that streak, New England has forced 13 turnovers – including four against Chicago, three against the Jets and Indianapolis – without turning the ball over once themselves.

Once the defense gives the ball to the offense, it doesn’t leave their hands seemingly until whichever player finds the end zone and gives the ball to the official. Tom Brady is playing with amazing efficiency. In his last three games, he’s had passer ratings of 158.3, 148.9 and 113.4.

Watching the Patriots at this point is like watching poetry in motion and nothing appears to be able to stop them. Give them extra time, they come up with a 42-point win. Give them a short week, they’ll come up with a 29-point victory.

It’s not over yet, but with three games left to go and wins over Baltimore, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, New York and now Chicago, is there any doubt that this team is the toast of the AFC?