What’s Ahead for AFC New England Patriots in November 2012

Jets' coach Rex Ryan obsesses on the Pats
The Patriots are 5-3 and despite an uneven first half of the season and they sit atop the AFC East. That’s good news. Even better is the fact that the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills are both 3-5 while the Miami Dolphins are 4-4. Yes, the Fins are in second place in the AFC East, which is a surprise to just about all.

Pats Control Destiny

Over the next four weeks the Patriots will basically have a chance to ensure their playoff spot and perhaps even a bye. In three of those four weeks they will meet a division opponent. The other game is against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts like the Pats are 5-3.

Buffalo arrives next week at Gillette Stadium and the Colts the following week. Then the Patriots travel to New York and then Miami.

What Can They Do?

It would be great to see New England run off four straight, giving them a winning streak of six. That would put them at 11-3 as they host Houston and then San Francisco before going on their final road trip to Carolina and then coming back home for their last regular season game against Miami.

But let’s say they win all three of the conference games. That would make it very difficult for the Jets or the Bills to make a playoff bid. And it would also cripple Miami.

The Competition

Here’s how I see the next four games. The Bills should be a win. That’s all there is to it. No excuses from anyone. I think the Patriots are superior to the Colts, who have primarily beaten much weaker teams. The Colts also lost to the Jets. It’s not the Colts of old as there’s no Peyton Manning, but they are better than they were last season. They do have to be taken seriously. This is a game the Pats can win.

The Jets make me nervous especially on their home turf. But they have definite QB problems and coach Rex Ryan is like Captain Queeg when it comes to New England. If the Patriots open the game up early, the Jets won’t have a chance.

The first meeting of the season between Miami and New England takes place on December 2. I think the Dolphins will be 6-5 by then, making this game very important for them. Look for the Pats to win in this big contest.

Super Bowl Planning?

It’s not time to plan for the Super Bowl yet. It’s true that New England killed the Rams the other week. But through the first half they have been inconsistent. Let’s see four solid performances over the next four weeks and then start to think about the playoffs and after that, at least three weeks later, the Super Bowl. Go Pats!

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