FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Let’s just get this out of the way: The New England Patriots are the best team in the NFL right now.

And it’s not even close.

They are 9-2 and have won seven consecutive games, the latest a 34-9 smackdown of the supposedly tough Detroit Lions. Their average margin of victory in those seven games is 20 points. And it’s not like they’re beating cupcakes.

The Cincinnati Bengals (43-17 win), Denver Broncos (43-21) and Indianapolis Colts (42-20) are all division leaders. The Lions were 7-3 and tied for the lead in the NFC North, but they staggered out with their tails between their legs.

The Lions came into the game leading the NFL in defense, allowing just 15.6 points per game. Detroit hadn’t given up more than 24 points in a game. The Patriots had 24 in the first half. The Lions were allowing just 290.3 yards per game; the Patriots dropped 439 on them.

And just look at the names they’ve beaten: Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Matthew Stafford, T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, Demaryius Thomas, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson.

These are some of the NFL’s preeminent players. And the Patriots have made them look mortal.

Yeah, Manning threw for over 400 yards, but the last 300 were meaningless.

The Patriots know they’re good. “If you look at our roster,” said cornerback Darrelle Revis, “we’ve got talent across the board everywhere.”

But they will not boast. Revis, who was credited with four pass defenses on Sunday (meaning he stopped a pass from being completed), said the team always respects its opponents. “But at the same time, we’ve got a good team here.”

When it was mentioned that the team might be a little better than good, Revis laughed and said, “You can say that. If you want to write that, go ahead.

“I mean, it’s great that we’re 9-2,” he continued. “But at the same time we feel like we have a lot of work to do. It’s still a long season. We can’t sit here and say, ‘We’ve arrived’ or ‘We’re here.’ We might meet some of these teams down the road. You never know. We’ve got to keep on pushing.”

This is exactly what the Patriots envisioned when they put this team together over the summer, with some additional changes during the season. They wanted to be tough, they wanted to be athletic, they wanted to be versatile, they wanted to play with an edge.

And that’s what we see each week.

New England is either overpowering teams with a thumping running game or passing over or around them, or returning kickoffs or punts for long yardage.

“That’s a good football team,” said Lions Coach Jim Caldwell. “They do everything well. They are a team that can run the ball, they are a team that throws extremely well, and I mean you can see they can do it in a number of different ways. You have to operate on all cylinders, which we weren’t today, in order to beat a team like that.”

Tom Brady continues to be reborn after his struggles early in the season, making the right decisions and throwing mostly perfect balls. Rob Gronkowski has been unstoppable, but on Sunday he was almost a decoy as Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell got the most catches, while fellow tight end Tim Wright scored two touchdowns.

LeGarrette Blount, banished from Pittsburgh on Tuesday and signed by the Patriots on Thursday, rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns in his return to Gillette Stadium.

The defense, led by Revis and Brandon Browner, forced Matthew Stafford into a miserable day as he completed just 18 of 46 passes. Johnson and Golden Tate and were nonfactors, with four catches apiece.

The defense rose up a couple times to force field goals instead of touchdowns, as it has throughout this streak.

They call it complementary football, and no one is playing it better than the Patriots.

“Everyone is linked together,” said Brady, “so we all feed off each other.”

When the Patriots began this six-game stretch back on Oct. 26, most folks figured if the Patriots went 4-2 or 3-3 they’d be in position to win a sixth consecutive AFC East title. Now, with four wins to start the stretch, everyone is expecting more.

It won’t be easy.

Next week, New England is off to Lambeau Field for a Game of the Century showdown with Green Bay (8-3), featuring Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb and many others.

It will be another great challenge.

Don’t bet against the Patriots.