Wes Welker's recovery from knee surgery ... Logan Mankins' contract standoff ... Tom Brady's car accident and contract extension ... Randy Moss' trade.
It's only four games into the NFL season but the Patriots have had no shortage of big news, and potential distractions, surrounding them.
Cut through it all, including their struggles on defense, and the bottom line is that at 3-1 they are right there in the mix with the NFL's other top teams. They might not be in the elite category, but they are position to join the mix with a win over the Ravens.
This topic is explored in a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com.