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December domination

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks off

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks off the field after a game at Gillette Stadium. (Nov. 24, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

December has arrived, and that can only mean one thing: It's Patriots time.

The Pats are an amazing 45-6 since 2001 in the month of December, by far the best record of any team over the period. Next best is Philadelphia at 36-16.

What gives, Tom Brady?

"Coach [Bill] Belichick talks about September and October being about improvement," the Patriots' quarterback said. "I think that's when that pays off is November, December. There are really no days off. He keeps the pressure on us all the time. You may win a game early in September, you may be 3-0, feel good about yourself, you're still not really where you're going to be and you're not at the point where you need to be at. The importance of keeping the pressure on us as players, that helps to help us improve. Right now is when we say football season starts."

New England is coming off a 34-31 overtime win against the Broncos, and they're at struggling Houston on Sunday. All the Patriots' remaining five opponents are under .500, so their dominant December ways figure to continue in the coming weeks.

Offensive defense

With all the focus on Robert Griffin III in Washington, the defense is just as culpable for the team's 3-8 record. Washington is 28th in yards allowed (382.1) and 31st in points allowed (338).

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