NFL Network dissects Pats' standing

When NFL Network’s “Total Access” program discussed the drafts of AFC East teams earlier in the week, the debate somewhat glossed over the Patriots.

On Friday’s show, host Rich Eisen and analysts Mike Lombardi and Marshall Faulk put the spotlight on the Patriots, and the question was asked, “Is it possible that the Patriots don’t even have the edge in their own division?”

A three-minute segment ensued, with Lombardi focusing on quarterback Tom Brady and Faulk reflecting on last season’s game against the Saints, which he attended and felt highlighted the team's defensive deficiencies.

“They were un-Patriots-like and Tom Brady was un-Tom Brady-like in closing out games,” Lombardi said. “He’s the Mariano Rivera to close out a game, but if you go to the Denver game, he turns the ball over and can’t close that out, can’t get the win. Going back to the Jet game, awful in the second half. His fourth-quarter stats -- he had one touchdown and three interceptions when his team is trailing. He’s really struggled when they had to come behind, which used to be their signature.”

Faulk then noted that those struggles should be expected when coming off a serious knee injury. Faulk looked deeper than the offense and Brady.

“I think defensively, they were out-schemed,” Faulk said. “They were outmatched at times.”