Brady, Patriots keep winning despite inconsistencies but benefit from weak schedule

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The NFL season is half over, but the New England Patriots sometimes play like it's still training camp.

They're 6-2 with a two-game lead in the AFC East. But they've only played well from start to finish in one game. That was against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And they've been forced by numerous injuries to fill positions with rookie free agents and other backups.

Their latest inconsistent game came on Sunday when they beat the struggling Dolphins 27-17 after trailing 17-3 at halftime. It was the fourth straight loss for Miami.

Only two of the Patriots' eight opponents currently have winning records. On Sunday, they face the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose 2-5 record is tied for second worst in the AFC.


AP NFL website: and