Early November and late October is the only time of year that all four professional sports leagues are in action at the same time. The NBA tipped off its season while the World Series was rolling along and the NFL and NHL were well under way.

There’s no better time to take stock of the hopes of Boston teams. Yes, the New England Revolution made another playoff appearance (a quick one that saw them eliminated in the knockout round) but we’ll stick to the four major teams here, in order of their chances of Winning It All. This is Boston, after all, and anything short of a championship is considered a disappointment.

The New England Patriots. Can we just fast-forward to Super Bowl 50 and watch the Pats face the Packers? It really is that simple. They are, far and away, the best two teams in the league. Need proof? Watch any other random game on a Sunday afternoon. Interceptions, fumbles and ineptitude is what you’ll see.

These are the glory days for Patriots Nation. Each week, the best coach ever gets to build a game plan around the best quarterback ever. He’s got the best tight end ever at his disposal, as well as enough complementary parts to rack up the offense. The defense is good enough to hang in there, and the kicker just set a franchise record with 26 consecutive successful field goals.

In other words, New England dominates in all three phases of the game. A championship is no guarantee – the Broncos showed in Sunday night’s win over the Packers that they need to be taken seriously. But in one game, with everything on the line, I’ll take the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady combo.

The Boston Red Sox. Yes, I’m saying a team that finished last in two-straight seasons has a chance to be a champion in 2016.

It won’t be easy to go from worst to first, but the success we saw from the core of young players last season was no mirage. They are strong and young up the middle – with Mookie Betts in center, Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia surrounding second base, and the Blake Swihart/Christian Vazquez combo behind the plate.

President Dave Dombrowski will need to deal for at least one, if not two, top-line starting pitchers. And he’ll need to completely rebuild one of the worst bullpens in baseball. Still, this team is not as far away as you’d think after a last-place finish. It’s hard to predict a championship, but the Sox should be back to contending for a playoff spot next season.

 The Boston Bruins. The Bruins actually have a better chance than the Red Sox at making the playoffs.

This is a team still learning how to play a more open offensive game. Tuukka Rask is once again playing like an elite goalie, and that will go a long way toward covering up the team’s shortcomings.

Zdeno Chara is still the cornerstone of the defense. David Krejci is flourishing with the shackles off his game, and Patrice Bergeron is still one of the best all-around players in the game. Brad Marchand is scoring goals and annoying opponents, which is great news. The power play is one of the best we’ve seen around here in a long time.

That said, this team needs help if it wants to raise the Cup. GM Don Sweeney will need to add a defenseman, and probably a goal scorer, if a deep playoff run appears to be a possibility.

Two weeks ago most people were ready to write off the Bruins. Now they’ve gotten 13 of a possible 14 points in the past seven games. Maybe this offense-first thing will work after all.

 The Boston Celtics. They are still years away from contending for a title, but the Celtics are fun to watch.

They bring a lot of energy to the court each night, and could contend for a second-straight playoff spot.

But it’s not about this season for the Celtics. It’s about next summer, when GM Danny Ainge could have as many as four first-round picks (and five second-round picks) thanks to trades he’s made over the past two seasons.

Some of those picks are protected if they fall high enough in the draft order, but the Celtics will add a bumper crop of young talent over the next two seasons.

Or, Ainge will use those picks and players to trade for a couple of impact players. That would speed up the rebuilding process, and move this team higher up this list the next time we rank Boston’s teams.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.