Los Angeles Chargers v New England Patriots
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots evades a tackle from Adrian Phillips #31 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half at Gillette Stadium on October 29, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Home » Blog » Patriots have to throttle Jets for playoff positioning

Patriots have to throttle Jets for playoff positioning

It’s that time of year. The NFL playoffs are still more than a month away, but the picture is coming into the conversation, with teams jockeying for bye weeks and, in some cases, weekly survival.

For the New England Patriots, there’s not question that they’ll make the playoffs. At 7-3, they have a two-game lead over the second-place Miami Dolphins in the AFC East, and frankly, Miami is no threat to the Pats.

On Sunday, New England is taking on the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, hoping to come off its bye and hammer an inferior opponent. The Jets, however, are also coming off their bye, and are also trying to avenge a hideous loss. The last time we saw these two teams, the Patriots were losing 34-10 to the Tennessee Titans, while the Jets were blasted 41-10 at home by the lowly Buffalo Bills.

For the Patriots, getting a victory over New York is not about winning the division as much as it plays to getting home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

Typically, New England is in the pole position of this pursuit with everybody else chasing from behind. This year, the Patriots are in danger of being the fourth seed if they aren’t careful.

At 7-3, Tom Brady and Co. are looking up at both the Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1), with the Houston Texans (7-3) behind them via the tiebreaker.

For New England, the good news is that it beat Kansas City when the two teams saw each other in Week 6. It also has a Week 15 date at Heinz Field with the Steelers, giving the Patriots a chance to take care of business and give Pittsburgh its third loss. The Steelers also have a tough slate moving forward that includes the New Orleans Saints on the road in Week 16.

All that said, New England is almost compelled to win its final six games if it wants any chance of overtaking Kansas City. The Chiefs are off this weekend before coming back and playing five games in which they will be favored for all of them. Kansas City has a couple of tough matchups with the Los Angeles Chargers at home and the Seattle Seahawks on the road, but the schedule also gifts the Oakland Raiders twice.

To beat out Pittsburgh, the Patriots can’t afford a loss to a poor team like the Jets. New England probably has to win at least five games including the head-to-head contest. Factoring in a tough game against the Minnesota Vikings, the Patriots must beat the rest of its AFC East opponents (four of their final six games) before the postseason is upon us.

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