It hasn't always been the prettiest display at times, but through a little more than half of their 2021 schedule, the New England Patriots are 5-4 and own the third and final Wild Card in the AFC.

Not to mention they've won 3-straight games and appear to be rounding into form like the classic Patriots teams of old that would only get better as the calendar flipped to November.

A balanced effort has gotten the Pats to this point, and even more so during the 3-game win-streak. The offense hasn't blown anyone away this year and probably won't in the second half either because that's not what this team is trying to do.

It's the O's job to take care of the ball and score enough points on a weekly basis for the defense to do their thing and stymie the opposition's attack.

While Mac Jones has acquitted himself nicely as a rookie under center, and Damien Harris has shown that he can handle the lead-back duties, can either of those players compete with some of the efforts turned in on the defensive side of the ball when it comes to naming the Pats' MVP through nine weeks?

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