We are going into the final week of the NFL regular season and although the playoff teams have been decided in the AFC, what teams will get a bye and who will have home field advantage is not clear. The Patriots could end up the number one seed giving them a bye and Gillette Stadium throughout the playoffs, or they could end up as low as the fourth seed, which mean no bye and home field for the initial round.
Do You Want the Bye?
That may sound like a dumb question but some do question whether or not the bye is a good thing. With the bye teams get two weeks of rest and can heal up from a tough, long NFL season. They go into their first playoff game in as best shape as they can be. Plus, they elude the injury bug in the first round.
But some feel that teams that earn a bye can become complacent and come out flat in their next game. We’ve seen it happen at times and there’s no excuse for it. Here’s the skinny on the bye. Historically, teams overall do well when they get a bye. Of course, home field in the north of New England is a definite advantage for the Pats.
Business as Usual
This Sunday the Patriots play the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. New England is getting socked by a Nor’easter today and Sunday will be cold with a few flakes in the air being possible.
The Patriots need to beat the Dolphins. That’s their first order of business. They came out sluggish against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. They almost blew it. The Patriots should have hammered the Jags and instead they managed to win 23-16. That was surprising and I think coupled with their a December loss, which occurred against San Francisco the week before, it’s a cause for concern.
If the Pats Squish the Fish
If the Patriots do beat the Dolphins on Sunday, and they should, they will put themselves in a position to get a bye. Here’s the way it can play out.
New England (11-4) is now the third seed behind Houston (12-3) and Denver (12-3). The Patriots could take the number one spot if they beat the Dolphins and Houston and Denver lose to Indianapolis and Kansas City. A loss by either team should give the Pats the second seed as long as they beat Miami.
The Patriots could also tumble to fourth with a loss to Miami, plus wins by Houston, Denver, and Baltimore. So, on Sunday in their late afternoon game the Patriots simply need to take care of business and see how things work out. Go Pats!