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Instant Debate

NFL's most complete team? Patriots, Cardinals, Packers in mix

It's tough to put together a truly balanced roster in the hyper-competitive environment of the NFL. Think of the offensive juggernaut held back by a defense that leaks like a sieve, or the monstrous defense hamstrung by an offense that can't score to save its life.

But sometimes, everything comes together perfectly; sometimes, a team runs like a well-oiled machine in all three phases of the game. In this young season, we've seen the Cardinals and Patriots riding huge point differentials (77 and 49 points, respectively) to perfect records. The 3-0 Bengals and Packers, meanwhile, are winning with offenses and defenses that both rank in the top half of the league.

As you consider the various strengths and weaknesses we've seen squads display, which team strikes you as the NFL's most complete through Week 3?

The most complete team is the Arizona Cardinals. To me, they've shown offensively that they can run and throw the ball well. The Cardinals lead the league in points, and a big part of that is they're controlling the clock in every game.

Defensively, Arizona can turn its opponent over. On Sunday against San Francisco, the Cardinals picked off Colin Kaepernick four times and returned two of those picks for touchdowns. Their defense is very reliable and good right now. I'm going to have to go with the Green Bay Packers. I think Aaron Rodgers is doing some really good things with pieces they just picked up, including old friend James Jones. Even when running back Eddie Lacy was out against the Seahawks in Week 2, James Starks stepped up and did a good job.

I think the Packers are the most complete because they can win games on defense, offense and special teams. Their defense is playing well, and Rodgers is the top quarterback in the league right now. As long as you've got him, you should win. I still have to go with Tom Brady and the Patriots. After the departures of cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, it looked like their defense might not be that good. But the unit has been playing well through the first three weeks of the season. Given what happened to Tom Brady in the offseason, everybody was wondering if he'd stay focused. The answer? Yes. Look at the points he's been putting up. He's leading the league in passing yards (1,112). The Patriots are good, as long as they've got Tom Brady.

Plus, Bill Belichick is still Bill Belichick. Regardless of what's been going on, he's going to keep that team in game mode, mentally. New England is still racking up points and still producing. It's hard not to say the Patriots. New England certainly is flexing its muscles every week and leads the league in total offense. I didn't think the Pats were going to be as good, with all of the offseason losses they had on defense. I also was worried about their young offensive line dropping off. But it hasn't. That shocks me a little bit.

Still, Arizona really looks like it's the real deal. The Cardinals are good at special teams and really physical on a defense that boasts ball-hawkers in the secondary. Also, their offense is really, really sound. They're a well-coached team, too.

Green Bay could be in the mix, but I'm not sure if the Packers are as good on defense. The Patriots are, without a doubt, the most complete team in the NFL. When you look for a complete team, you start to dial up their weaknesses. Coming into the season, people thought the offensive line would be the weak link. But all the Patriots have done is create more depth. They have two rookies ( David Andrews and Shaq Mason) stepping in, and they haven't missed a beat. Now, New England has two rookies with three games of experience, and if/when Bryan Stork and Ryan Wendell return, the Patriots will have seven offensive linemen they can trust in game-day action. Most teams don't have five.

Brandon LaFell, arguably New England's No. 2 wide receiver, hasn't been active yet, and he's coming back. 
Danny Amendola is healthy, 
Julian Edelman and 
Rob Gronkowski are making big plays, and oh yeah, 
Tom Brady is the 
best quarterback in football. 

Sure, they lost cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to free agency, but this defense is playing well without them. The Patriots' front seven has the potential to be the best in the league by the end of the season, and that's without the big star names the Buffalo Bills have. A lot of these guys are special-breed athletes whom teams have a hard time matching up with.

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