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AFC East: Patriots Still Have Plenty to Play For

The New England Patriots are coming off a tough loss a week ago at home to the San Francisco 49ers. Even though they have wrapped up the AFC East championship, there is still a lot at stake in these last two games of the regular season for them.

First, they must respond to a loss for the first time in eight games. The Patriots have been on such a roll, they haven’t had to do this in a while. So that will be interesting to see how they respond.

Second, the Patriots can still make it to the all important second spot in the AFC playoff standings. They are 10-4 in the third spot right now. The Denver Broncos are 11-3 in the second spot while the Houston Texans are in the top spot at 12-2. It is unlikely they will catch the Texans, but if they did, the Patriots have the tie breaker over them. But Houston would have to lose both of its remaining games for the Patriots to have a shot. But the Broncos need only to slip up once in their last two games for the Patriots to catch them. And the Patriots also have tie breaker advantage over Denver as well

The Patriots remaining games are at the Jacksonville Jaguars and at home against the Miami Dolphins. The Broncos are left with homes games against the Cleveland Browns and the Kansas City Chiefs. They are not likely to lose either one of those, but it could happen. The Texans still have the Minnesota Vikings at home and a road game at the Indianapolis Colts. Those are a tough couple of games, but the Texans need only to win one as they also have the tie breaker advantage over the Broncos.

Why is getting to the second spot so important? Simple. The top two seeds get a first round bye and home field for the second round. The AFC playoffs if they started this week would go like this:

Week One

Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

Week Two

Ravens/ Colts winner at either Broncos or Texans

Bengals/Patriots winner at either Broncos or Texans

AFC Championship Game

Winners of Week two games at the home of higher seed

So you see, it would help greatly id the Patriots could replace the Broncos for the second seed. It’s like starting the playoffs with a win already.


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