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It was a nice week for the Patriots

Tom Brady AP

The 2010 Patriots and Falcons are proof that getting a No. 1 seed only means so much in the playoffs. But it certainly never hurts.

Following the upsets of Week 15, the Patriots are right back in position to get the AFC’s top seed again.

Let’s break down the race for playoff byes in the AFC.

Patriots: It’s not tough to figure out the scenarios. New England just has to beat the Dolphins and Bills in Foxborough to clinch the top spot.

Miami could be a trickier game than people think. They are playing excellent defense and their man coverage could give New England some problems.  The Dolphins have won five of seven games for a reason.

Still, those are two home games the Patriots should win. Despite all their defensive problems, they have a great chance to go 13-3 and get the top seed in the AFC.

Ravens: If the Patriots lost another game, Baltimore would get the No. 1 seed by winning out. The Ravens will hold the tiebreak over the Patriots and Texans because of strength of victory if all three teams tied.

The Ravens host the Browns then head to Cincinnati. Baltimore is 3-4 on the road. That Bengals game is no gimme. If the Ravens win twice, they get no worse than the No. 2 seed.

Texans: They need the Ravens or Patriots to slip up for a chance at a bye. Baltimore beat Houston head-to-head. At this stage, it’s uncertain who would win a tiebreaker between the Texans and Patriots. It’s too close.

Steelers: Pittsburgh probably gave up any chance at a bye when they lost to the 49ers. Even if Pittsburgh won the AFC North, the Steelers would need Houston to lose again in order to have a chance for a bye.

So are the Patriots suddenly Super Bowl favorites? Not really. All of these teams are evenly matched and beatable.

The Patriots have the clearest weakness of any AFC contender, so they need any advantage they can get.

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74 Responses to “It was a nice week for the Patriots”
  1. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Dec 20, 2011 11:30 AM

    I don’t see the Patriots winning behind that defense. Tom can just score points, not stop the other team from scoring.

  2. olcap says: Dec 20, 2011 11:33 AM

    “The Patriots have the clearest weakness of any AFC contender, so they need any advantage they can get.”

    Yes, it’s because it’s so hard to get away with cheating nowadays.

  3. Kya_Tropic_Fan says: Dec 20, 2011 11:34 AM

    Dearest Tom Brady (the Nephew of God) and Bill Belichick,

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, we all chipped in and got you the number one seed in the AFC Playoffs,

    With Warmest Regards,

    Baltimore
    Houston &
    Pittsburgh

  4. timtheenchanter1 says: Dec 20, 2011 11:36 AM

    “If the Patriots lost another game, Baltimore would get the No. 1 seed by winning out.”
    ————————

    Wrong.

    In this case it would be a 3-way tie with NE, Bal, and Houston, so the Baltimore head-to-head win over Houston would not be a factor. Since 2 of Houston’s 4 losses have been to NFC teams, they are 8-2 in the AFC and thus have the advantage over NE and Baltimore in conference record. In a 3-way tie at 12-4, houston gets the #1 seed.

    Either NE would have to lose 2, or both NE and Hou would have to lose a game for Baltimore to get the #1 seed now.

  5. bramblinman says: Dec 20, 2011 11:38 AM

    In a 3 way tie at 12-4, Houston gets the #1 seed over New England and Baltimore due to Conference Record (10-2, to 9-3 to 9-3).

    Baltimore then gets the #2 seed over NE due to SOV.

    So Baltimore can get the #1 seed in a 2 way ties with both NE and HOU, but not a 3 way tie with NE and HOU at 12-4.

  6. Deb says: Dec 20, 2011 11:40 AM

    Home-field advantage is a big deal, but I’m not that crazy about byes. They’re not necessarily the great advantages they were once thought to be. So I wouldn’t be as concerned about last night’s loss if it hadn’t been such an ugly mess. Ugh.

  7. ccolgain says: Dec 20, 2011 11:41 AM

    I think you are wrong on the AFC. If the Pats lose a game and the Pats, Ravens, and Texans all end up at 12-4, the Texans will be the #1 seed. The Texans would have a 10-2 conference record while the Pats and Ravens will have 9-3 conference records. The Ravens would then be the 2 seed based on strength of victory over the Pats.

  8. weepingjebus says: Dec 20, 2011 11:42 AM

    Pats secondary is terrible, but Wilfork is having a great year and they still swarm loose balls like the Belichick Ds of old. Also bears reminding that the sky’s the limit for short haircut Brady.

  9. oscojoe says: Dec 20, 2011 11:46 AM

    How’s that changing of the guard going Yet’s Fan’s???

  10. ac540 says: Dec 20, 2011 11:49 AM

    If the Pats lose a game and finish tied with Houston and Baltimore at 12-4, don’t the Texans become the #1 seed based on conference record, or does the Ravens’ head-to-head win over Houston give them the #1 seed?

  11. patgill4 says: Dec 20, 2011 11:51 AM

    I think PFT is wrong about the Ravens getting the 1 seed if NE loses. If NE, Houston and Baltimore all wind up with the same record, Texans would have best conference record (only 2 losses) and the SOS tiebreaker would be irrelevant (as to HOU). Houston would be the 1 seed. Baltimore would be the 2 seed based on having a better SOS than NE.

  12. southpaw2k says: Dec 20, 2011 11:51 AM

    Here’s how I see the playoffs playing out…

    (6) Jets/Bengals at (3) Texans

    (5) Steelers at (4) Broncos

    Texans and Steelers win

    (5) Steelers at (1) Patriots

    (3) Texans at (2) Ravens

    Steelers and Ravens win

    AFC Championship – Steelers at Ravens

    Hope everyone is ready for some serious trash talking during Championship week.

  13. portnoychunk says: Dec 20, 2011 11:54 AM

    “The Patriots have the clearest weakness of any AFC contender, so they need any advantage they can get.”

    You’ve always been a Pats basher Greggggg. I would argue that having Yates at QB might be a bigger weakness than the Pats defense,which should get healthier by playoff time. Of course, you say all the teams in the AFC are pretty evenly matched and then in the next line say the Patriots have the clearest weakness, so making sense of your writing is a joke in and of itself.

  14. rc33 says: Dec 20, 2011 11:55 AM

    Losing Andre Carter for the season…on the side of the ball where they can LEAST afford to lose anyone…tempers whatever good came about.

  15. vuudu says: Dec 20, 2011 11:56 AM

    Manning went to Heaven and God ushered him to his abode, when they got there, it was a fitting home but to the left of Manning stood a tall majestic, splendid building with Red, white and blue ribbons on it and Manning started to list his accomplishment in a grouching manner and eventually asked God why Brady has a better looking building than him. God said, “what are you talking about? Brady? No, that is my house”.
    God is a Patriot.

  16. neilpountney says: Dec 20, 2011 11:56 AM

    Yeah but…

    I don’t see teams lining up voluntarily to go to Foxboro!!!

  17. edgerules says: Dec 20, 2011 11:57 AM

    Well, all the teams in the playoffs have some sort of flaws. I mean, really. I would like to know where was the criticism against the SB 41 winning Colts and the SB44 winning Saints , and the 13-1 Packers for their bad defenses? Packers have either the 29th or 30th worse defense in the NFL, and I barely hear a peep. All I heard before the Packers lost to the Chiefs was how this Packer team was going to be the best team ever.

    I am NOT disputing that the Pats have a terrible defense. That is NOT in dispute. I am just questioning the fairness of the reporting.

  18. bullcharger says: Dec 20, 2011 11:57 AM

    You missed something here.

    3 way tie between the Patriots, Ravens and Houston excludes the head to head between the Ravens and Houston, so if the Ravens win out and the Patriots lose a game the Ravens don’t necessarily get the first seed. Houston get if they also win out and force a 3 way tie because of their conference record. Houston lost to an NFC team so their AFC record would be better than the Ravens and the Patriots.

  19. kissbillsrings says: Dec 20, 2011 12:04 PM

    The Pats D may be the weakness you are referring to but yards given up Vs points allowed is a MAJOR equalizer in that reguard…

    You also didn’t mention that the Patriots have the clearest advantage in the AFC with Brady & BB leading the way for them…..

  20. jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says: Dec 20, 2011 12:05 PM

    I wouldn’t call last night’s game an upset by any stretch. The Niners are the better team this year and they were just doing what they were expected to do. Now the Chargers, that was an upset because the Ravens are a ridiculously good team.

  21. blue18hutthutt says: Dec 20, 2011 12:12 PM

    Screw the Pats

  22. thedoctlc says: Dec 20, 2011 12:12 PM

    “The Patriots have the clearest weakness of any AFC contender, so they need any advantage they can get.”

    By this you’re no doubt referring to New England’s defense. I’m sorry, but I’ll take the Patriots and their 10.0 PPG margin of victory over any other AFC contender any day.

  23. offeredremains says: Dec 20, 2011 12:14 PM

    “At this stage, it’s uncertain who would win a tiebreak between the Texans and Patriots. It’s too close.”

    Actually, it’s really easy to know who would win the tiebreak. Seeing as the next two games are conference games for both teams, and they are currently tied with an 8-2 conference record, if the Texans win out and the Patriots lose one of the next two then the Texans would win the tiebreak with a better conference record since they didn’t play each other in the regular season.

  24. pigskinswag says: Dec 20, 2011 12:14 PM

    Even with the #1 seed, I can’t definitively say that the Patriots would be the favorite to win the conference. They have the worst defense ever and it got worse with the loss of Andre Carter. If you look at the other two top teams in the AFC, Baltimore & Pittsburgh, those are tough matchups no matter where the game is played. I don’t see them stopping Ray Rice and there isn’t a player on their roster that can cover Mike Wallace. History has taught us that no team has won it all with an atrocious defense. I think history repeats itself.

  25. all4patriots says: Dec 20, 2011 12:14 PM

    Belichick should be in the coach of the year discussion, with Jim Harbaugh.

    We all KNOW that Belichick in fact IS the best coach in the league, but it may actually be time to vote that way, considering he may get this limited roster to a #1 seed for the second year in a row, something that hasn’t happened for a very long time in the AFC, I believe (since the Bills in the 90s?- the Eagles did it in the NFC in the 2000s)

  26. tombradyallday says: Dec 20, 2011 12:15 PM

    its all about the POST season for patriots. have to make a run this year to indianapolis. weve lost two playoff games at home past two years got to break that streak

  27. CKL says: Dec 20, 2011 12:17 PM

    Under BB, Miami is like Denver for the Pats. It doesn’t matter if the Pats are a better team, those two teams almost always give the Pats a huge fight and they are both tough to beat. Regardless of their record, Miami always scares me.

  28. micronin127 says: Dec 20, 2011 12:19 PM

    Houston would win any tiebreaker against the Patriots, presuming the Patriots lose 1 more game, the Texans would have a better conference record.

    Since Houston lost to an NFC team (Panthers) and should the Patriots lose again it will be to an AFC team, they will have 3 losses in the conference to the Texans 2 losses.

    It won’t even get down to any of the complicated tie-breaking like strength-of-victory or flipping coins.

  29. drgfri says: Dec 20, 2011 12:19 PM

    Nice week? They lost their #1 pass rusher for the season! That hurts more than you are accounting for….

  30. tothefellowshipofthemiserable says: Dec 20, 2011 12:21 PM

    Patriots could use a bye week.There might not be enough time to correct that defense.

  31. giablommi says: Dec 20, 2011 12:27 PM

    The AFC is a mess this year. This is not one of the better teams that the Pats have rolled out in the Belichick era but the other “contenders” are a mess and can’t win on the road so the Pats may make it to Indy by default.

    Pats winning the Bowl this year might be as big a miracle as pulling it off in 2001, but would love to see it happen.

  32. shawnleblancpatsfan says: Dec 20, 2011 12:28 PM

    I’m just waiting for some comment from the first idiot claiming that Belichik somehow managed to leak video tape to Carolina, San Diego and San Francisco on how to head the other teams… come you Patriot haters! looking forward to a bye week and hopefully 1sr seed throughout the playoffs …

  33. sikkcaden says: Dec 20, 2011 12:28 PM

    I would say Denver’s ideal playoff matchup would be against Pittsburgh. Any team with a pass rush and a decent offense can give the Steelers a hell of a game (due to pittsburghs joke of an o-line and subpar secondary) Keep in mind Ryan Clark wouldnt be able to play in Denver.

    If KC or Indy had better QB play, the Steelers would have lost both of those games, so I would give Von Miller and Co. more than a punchers chance.

  34. 46defense says: Dec 20, 2011 12:29 PM

    OK, I am a little confused I thought playoff tiebreakers were:

    1) Head-to-head
    2) Conference record

    Is this true? Can anyone confirm?

  35. 6ball says: Dec 20, 2011 12:30 PM

    .

    The Patriots secondary ( to the tune 12 days of christmas) : 4 Ross Ventrones, 3 Unknowns, 2 wide receivers, and a dude off the Raiders practice squad.

    .

  36. giablommi says: Dec 20, 2011 12:33 PM

    blue18hutthutt says:

    “Screw the Pats”
    ^^^^^^
    Oh come on, you know you’d love to have 20,000 Chowdahheads invade Indianapolis the first weekend in February after your Colts went 1-15.

  37. pleasantsurpriselefty says: Dec 20, 2011 12:34 PM

    Love seeing all the negative comments on Pats. Tells me the authors are in serious state of anguish. The defense doesn’t have to be stellar, it just has to stop the offense a few times more than Brady Gronks them. No perfect teams this year so home field throughout and Brady-Gronk-Hernandez-Welker may just be enough.

  38. blackstonevalleykettlebells says: Dec 20, 2011 12:39 PM

    Man coverage…Did you see Brady destroy the Miami secondary in the 1st game? It’s going to be a nice day up here Saturday. He’ll throw for at least 400 yards.

    Defense is a disaster however.

  39. bosfaninva says: Dec 20, 2011 12:40 PM

    The Steelers don’t have a clear weakness? How about the inability to score points?

    The Texans don’t have a clear weakness? How about a quarterback named TJ Yates?

    The Ravens don’t have a clear weakness? How about their penchant for playing horrible games every other week?

  40. predicatepanda says: Dec 20, 2011 12:51 PM

    The Pats offense is Top 3 by any metric. Their D is bad. This fact is indisputable. However, when it comes to points allowed per game, they are mediocre(14th). This combination has led to success for the Pats, Packers, & Saints. We’ll see if this can carry over into the playoffs against more elite teams.

    Also wonder if, moving forward, this becomes an on-going trend in the league. Invest more in offensive talent, use fungible players on defense, and really emphasize and coach up Red Zone defense.

  41. citizenstrange says: Dec 20, 2011 12:53 PM

    Roethlisberger is in his eighth year and the Steelers are still not built to score 30 points.

    The defense giving up 20 points should not lead to a 17 point blowout.

    Whiz always had some Randle El trick play passes to get the Steelers out of the teens in scoring.

  42. zsmyers1980 says: Dec 20, 2011 12:53 PM

    “ESPN Stats & Information that if the Ravens win their final three regular-season games, they will earn the top seed and the coveted home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

    Even if the Patriots and Texans win out too, Baltimore would still be in the top spot because the two other contenders can’t earn a better strength of victory.

    If all three teams finish with a 13-3 record, the tiebreaker procedures are as follows:

    Head to head: This tiebreaker does not apply because none of the three teams beat the other two or lost to the other two.
    Conference record: All three teams would be tied in this tiebreaker (10-2).
    Common opponents record: This tiebreaker does not apply because there are not enough common games. Each team needs four.
    Strength of victory: Baltimore wins, per ESPN.

  43. gln9213 says: Dec 20, 2011 12:58 PM

    and they beat the broncos….thank you NE for that!!

  44. grpatriot says: Dec 20, 2011 1:01 PM

    Let me save U a lot of time, don’t count on a Patriots loss……December at home vs the Fins n Bill??? Really? Safe to say the odds R in the Patriots favor!

  45. PFTiswhatitis says: Dec 20, 2011 1:03 PM

    Pats will get Chung and Spikes back in time for the playoffs. The D will be good enough as long as the offense continues to score like a machine. Pats will win at least one playoff game this year.

  46. pastabelly says: Dec 20, 2011 1:06 PM

    I would agree that Houston’s problems at quarterback are the biggest weakness of any of the contenders. After that, the Patriots defense is the biggest weakness of any of the teams. But Flacco is inconsistent and also a weakness for Baltimore. I would concede, as a Patriots fan, that the Steelers are the most balanced team with no glaring weaknesses. That’s why I’m glad they lost last night. The road will be a lot tougher with three road games to get out of the AFC.

  47. RexCanCoach says: Dec 20, 2011 1:06 PM

    Too bad Belichick and Brady forgot how to win football games in January.

    And it’s also too bad Belichick forgot how to coach a respectable defense.

    But hey, enjoy the great week and the rest of December also!

  48. southpaw2k says: Dec 20, 2011 1:10 PM

    zsmyers1980 says:
    Dec 20, 2011 12:53 PM
    “ESPN Stats & Information that if the Ravens win their final three regular-season games, they will earn the top seed and the coveted home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

    Even if the Patriots and Texans win out too, Baltimore would still be in the top spot because the two other contenders can’t earn a better strength of victory.

    If all three teams finish with a 13-3 record, the tiebreaker procedures are as follows:

    Head to head: This tiebreaker does not apply because none of the three teams beat the other two or lost to the other two.
    Conference record: All three teams would be tied in this tiebreaker (10-2).
    Common opponents record: This tiebreaker does not apply because there are not enough common games. Each team needs four.
    Strength of victory: Baltimore wins, per ESPN.

    ———————————————–

    All that is true….if this were a week ago.

    For Baltimore to secure home field advantage, both New England and Houston would have to lose at least one game apiece, and Baltimore would have to win their final two games. Given how unlikely that scenario is, the Ravens can work towards getting a bye and the #2 seed in the playoffs by at least winning out.

  49. marcuswelby70 says: Dec 20, 2011 1:15 PM

    The odds on favorite to get to the SB are Pats and Pack. If this holds true to form (and recent history says it won’t) it will be the first time in league history that the 31st (Pack) and 32nd (Pats) ranked defense have made is to the title game.

  50. pastabelly says: Dec 20, 2011 1:15 PM

    zsmyers1980 says:
    Dec 20, 2011 12:53 PM
    “ESPN Stats & Information that if the Ravens win their final three regular-season games, they will earn the top seed and the coveted home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

    Even if the Patriots and Texans win out too, Baltimore would still be in the top spot because the two other contenders can’t earn a better strength of victory.

    If all three teams finish with a 13-3 record, the tiebreaker procedures are as follows:

    Head to head: This tiebreaker does not apply because none of the three teams beat the other two or lost to the other two.
    Conference record: All three teams would be tied in this tiebreaker (10-2).
    Common opponents record: This tiebreaker does not apply because there are not enough common games. Each team needs four.
    Strength of victory: Baltimore wins, per ESPN.
    =================================
    Nice try. That was obviously written before the Ravens lost to the Chargers. They can’t go 13-3 now and they also have an additional conference loss.

  51. sj39 says: Dec 20, 2011 1:18 PM

    Patriots fans crack me up. Forget about it!

  52. 1historian says: Dec 20, 2011 1:20 PM

    In the 1st quarter the broncs got something like 170 yards on the ground. Belichik adjusted, improvised etc. and the broncs got 85 over the next 3 quarters. The (Denver) passing stats, as is to be expected, were a joke. Tebow was smart enough to know that he was watching the master out there when #12 was doing his thing. Tebow seems a nice person, etc. but to me it is clear that he is NOT an NFL quality QB. That 29 yard sack was quite amusing.

    He has tons of athletic ability and it seems that they should be able to find something out there for him to do, because – if the PATS’ pass defense can find a way to stop him – ?

    Meanwhile, Brady seemed pissed, which is always a good sign, because it means that he’s going to play a “I’m Tom Brady and you’re NOT!” game.

    For us spoiled Pats’ fans that’s the most fun kind of game to watch.

  53. bosfaninva says: Dec 20, 2011 1:21 PM

    Here’s the first AFC playoff tiebreaker:

    1. Pats 13-3
    2-6: Everyone else.

  54. 1historian says: Dec 20, 2011 1:25 PM

    The Pats’ D is porous, but Belichik is at his best – is MOST dangerous when he improvises.

  55. atxpatfan says: Dec 20, 2011 1:28 PM

    Pats have “the clearest weakness?” We all know you’re referring to their D but that is such a biased statement.

    Yes, they are 32nd in the NFL in Avg. yds per game. We’ve all heard that ad nauseum.

    I’m not saying the Pats D is “good” or a “strength.”

    However, stats are misleading…what about points allowed per game? They are tied for 14th with…wait for it…the Green Bay Packers. Only 1/10th of a point behind Dallas.

    You know who’s worse? New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego, the Jets, Detroit, Denver, the Giants, Oakland. All potential playoff teams.

    How about turnover differential? Pats are 2nd in the AFC..just 1 behind Houston. They are 5th in the NFL.

    I’d say TJ Yates and Joe Flacco as your starting QB might be a “clear weaknesses,” no? Or maybe the fact Baltimore has a penchant for looking ordinary against mediocre teams on the road? What about a less than 100% health Ben Roethlesberger?

    Every team has “clear” weaknesses.

  56. timtheenchanter1 says: Dec 20, 2011 1:30 PM

    zsmyers1980 says: Dec 20, 2011 12:53 PM

    “ESPN Stats & Information that if the Ravens win their final three regular-season games, they will earn the top seed and the coveted home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs…

    If all three teams finish with a 13-3 record….
    ———————-

    So is the NCAA going to come in and vacate the wins by San Diego and Carolina (probably because Cam Newton is declared ineligible), so the 4-loss Ravens and Texans can get to 13-3?

  57. richm2256 says: Dec 20, 2011 1:33 PM

    Deb says:
    Dec 20, 2011 11:40 AM
    Home-field advantage is a big deal, but I’m not that crazy about byes. They’re not necessarily the great advantages they were once thought to be. So I wouldn’t be as concerned about last night’s loss if it hadn’t been such an ugly mess. Ugh.

    ———————————————————
    Two big holes in that theory:

    You can’t lose a game you didn’t play.

    You can’t get an injury in a game you didn’t play.

    I’d take a bye any time.

  58. mrconnors says: Dec 20, 2011 1:42 PM

    Olcap: “Yeth, becauthe ith tho hard to get away with cheating nowadayth”.

    Olcap is one of the typical stooges on this site who bashes the Patriots in every topic about them.

    The Patriots are no less flawed than any other AFC team. The Steelers and Ravens can’t score half the time, the Texans are down to their 3rd QB, and the rest of the teams are barely .500.

  59. howiegtr says: Dec 20, 2011 1:43 PM

    Remember what BB says about stats; the most important stat is the final score. A win is a win.

    A.”Pats won!”
    B. “Yeah, but Joe QB threw for a million yards!”
    A. “And your point is…?”
    B. “Imagine what an elite QB can do”
    A.” And your point is…?”

  60. gronktimusprime says: Dec 20, 2011 1:48 PM

    I dont understand how people can be so stupid, Pats D in terms of yardage is awful, everyone knows that, but they are in the middle of the pack when it comes to points allowed, last time I checked that is what matters. Also look at turnovers, they force a lot of turnovers and are one of the best teams in terms of turnover margin. All you in closet Pats fans need to just come out and accept it, stop trolling on Pats posts becuase a Pats fan took your lunch money!

  61. pastabelly says: Dec 20, 2011 1:56 PM

    howiegtr says:
    Dec 20, 2011 1:43 PM
    Remember what BB says about stats; the most important stat is the final score. A win is a win.

    A.”Pats won!”
    B. “Yeah, but Joe QB threw for a million yards!”
    A. “And your point is…?”
    B. “Imagine what an elite QB can do”
    A.” And your point is…?”
    ==================================
    The problem is that the Patriots struggle against teams that can get to the quarterback using their basic defenses. That’s why they struggled against the Cowboys and lost to the Giants. That’s also why they match up poorly with the Ravens. The Steelers would be tough as well.

  62. wikidpissah says: Dec 20, 2011 2:46 PM

    The Pats’ defense is scary at times, but NFL defensive stats are off base. The Pats are 14th in points allowed, which is the true measure. While certainly not good, it’s also not historically bad as some say.

    Using NFL guidelines the best defensive team in hockey would be the team that allows the fewest shots, rather than the team that allowed the least goals.

    In baseball we’d measure the team that gave up the least hits, rather than the fewest runs.

    Having said that, A team with a very good defense will usually beat a team with a very good offense in the playoffs. If a team can hold the Pats to 20 or less on the playoffs they have a great chance of beating them.

  63. Deb says: Dec 20, 2011 2:54 PM

    @richm2256 …

    It’s not a theory. I’ve just seen my teams come back from byes looking like someone let the air out of their tires, and seen them stay hungry when they had to keep playing. They’ve won Super Bowls as first seed and as sixth seed. They’ve crashed and burned as first seed and as a wild card. You just never know. We had 10 days off to prep for this game and it wasn’t much help, was it? And after some of last night’s decisionmaking, a bye is the least of my concerns going forward.

  64. richm2256 says: Dec 20, 2011 2:59 PM

    RexCanCoach says:
    Dec 20, 2011 1:06 PM
    Too bad Belichick and Brady forgot how to win football games in January.

    And it’s also too bad Belichick forgot how to coach a respectable defense.

    But hey, enjoy the great week and the rest of December also!

    ———————————————————
    How’s that 8 & 6 record tasting, Yets fans?

    You’re not even a lock for a wildcard this year!

    For a team that’s supposed to have been to three straight Super Bowls – let alone that this year was also supposed to be the “Changing of the Guard” in the AFC East – you Yets fans should have nothing to talk about this season….

    NOTHING.

    And here you are trashing Belichick?

    How’s YOUR coach looking this season?

    Have a great week yourself, Yets fan. The Eagles are still wondering when you’re going to show up for their game!

    Even if they beat the Giants this week, it’s no big deal. half the teams they’ve played this year have done THAT!

  65. wikidpissah says: Dec 20, 2011 3:00 PM

    While defense is key, so are turnovers. The Patriots currently have the best turnover ratio in the AFC. Since 2000, their record in games where they win the turnover battle is 106 – 4.

  66. j0esixpack says: Dec 20, 2011 3:29 PM

    Whether there’s an advantage in the #1 seed depends on who one is playing and how one matches up

    There’s a lot of luck involved in that

  67. barryblogs says: Dec 20, 2011 3:43 PM

    Well, if the Patriots manage to get home field and actually win the Super Bowl, it will be a friggin’ miracle.
    Borderline awful defense, no wide receivers and not much at running back. Thankfully Belichick the coach is a lot better than Belichick the GM.
    Go Pats!!!

  68. descendency says: Dec 20, 2011 3:57 PM

    The terrible Patriots D is 5th in turnovers and 15th in scoring.

    So, basically the same formula that won the Packers and Saints the last two Super Bowls.

  69. havok82 says: Dec 20, 2011 4:16 PM

    All the teams have flaws. Houston is playing with their third string QB who couldn’t beat one of the worst D’s in the league. The Ravens are very Jeckyll and Hyde with a QB who is average. The Steelers have a gimpy QB with an offensive line that is shaky. The Pats D gives up yards and some points, but that offense is hard to stop. New Orleans can’t play outside and they suck on the road. Green Bay’s defense may be worse than the Pats but they are protected by a ton of turnovers. The 49er’s have Alex Smith and some mediocre WR’s.

    No one team is perfect. It’s just a matter of getting some health and catching fire at the right time. Look at the Steelers a few years ago as a 6 seed or the Giants in 2007 or the Colts in 2005. Strange things happen in January.

  70. critter69 says: Dec 20, 2011 4:51 PM

    “Head to head: This tiebreaker does not apply because none of the three teams beat the other two or lost to the other two.’

    On October 16, 2011, the Baltimore Ravens beat the Houston Texans 29-14. As a result, Houston is eliminated from the three-way tie for #1 overall.

    The tiebreaker is then between Baltimore and New England.

    The didn’t play head to head, so you go to the rest of the tie-breakers in order until you break the tie.

  71. gimmeabruschi says: Dec 20, 2011 10:00 PM

    I suspect the Pats will gladly take the #1 seed and be underestimated at the same time. That is the best of both worlds.

  72. bospat says: Dec 21, 2011 12:15 AM

    I’ll take Brady and BB over all those other flawed teams..no Qtbk comes close except Pig Pen and he’s banged up…we shall see…

  73. belicheckyoself says: Dec 21, 2011 10:36 PM

    NE’s defense is midling, not bad. They give up a ton of yards, but work well when compressed. Belichick has achieved what Parcels was always trying to do. Build a clock killing defense. With guys they found on the street. If Spikes, Mayo, and Chung are healthy, with Arrington (currently leading the league in INTs though it should be Woodson) and if McCourty wakes up, watch out.
    They trade yards for time and advantage (read turnovers) and if your offense can move the ball from any spot on the field and get points, the other guy is prolly cooked.
    Good offense, in the middle, good enough D, where it counts.
    Just don’t crap the bed in January.

  74. bcgreg says: Dec 22, 2011 2:18 PM

    So let me get this straight.

    NE offense is great, but the defense is ranked 32nd, so they are flawed, which I agree with.

    But…

    GB offense is great, and the defense is ranked 31st, but they’re considered the best team.

    I know that the defensive ranks is based on yards allowed, which I don’t get. I thought the idea was to stop the opponent from scoring. Speaking of which, NE and GB are tied for 14th for points allowed. If not for a defensive breakdown against the Giants and Bills earlier, the Pats would also be 13-1.

    Someone, please explain to me why GB is “the best team” while NE is looked upon as “flawed”. Looking at the rankings, I’d say GB and NE are pretty even.

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