Patriots lock up first seed in AFC

AP

The path to the Super Bowl in the AFC goes through New England.

That’s been the case for most of the last 20 years and it is the case again this season after the Patriots’ 26-6 win over the Jets on Sunday. The Patriots rode the No. 1 seed to the Super Bowl last year and are trying to become the first team to repeat as champs since they did it after the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Sunday’s game saw the Patriots start quickly with a 75-yard touchdown drive and then slow down offensively for much of the first half, but they were able to turn a couple of first downs off of Jets penalties into a touchdown and then score again before the half to create plenty of breathing room. The second half saw the Patriots start to take some starters out of the game and it was essentially a done deal when Jets coach Todd Bowles elected to kick a field goal while down 21 points with 10:28 left to play in the game.

It wasn’t Tom Brady‘s sharpest game as he went 18-of-37 for 190 yards without targeting tight end Rob Gronkowski at all. Two of those completions were touchdowns, however, and Dion Lewis ran the ball 26 times to keep the clock moving on a cold afternoon in New England.

Bryce Petty‘s day wasn’t any better, but neither that nor the score was enough for Bowles to give Christian Hackenberg his first regular season playing time. That’s now two years on the bench and counting for the 2016 second-round pick, who clearly hasn’t impressed the Jets with his ability to run an offense.

Petty hasn’t either and his season ended with back-to-back sacks by new Patriot James Harrison. Harrison played a fair amount after being stuffed in a corner by the Steelers all season and had a big stop on Robby Anderson to thwart one of the 12 third downs the Jets faced on Sunday. They didn’t convert any of them, which is a nice way for defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to head into possible head coaching interviews this week.

It’s also a nice way to lock up the top seed in the conference and set up two weeks to prepare for another game.

72 responses to “Patriots lock up first seed in AFC

  1. Pats fans have to recognize that the offense looked sclerotic when not in the hands of Dion Lewis. Brady was mediocre, as he has been for a few weeks (it’s not that he’s old so much as that he appears to be hurt or otherwise off); Cooks was lethargic; and Dorsett, dropping balls, demonstrated why he was rarely targeted over the season. The D played well enough, although in the few snaps Harrison had, the Jets, of all teams, made big plays. Pats may or may not stumble into the AFCCG, but after today the SB looks like a long shot.

  2. tommyuggs says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Pats fans have to recognize…
    _________________________________

    Pats fans recognize that the game plan called for getting out of this one healthy and unlike your team chip, it succeeded. New England nailed down home field and got out of it without injury. The Pats are on to the bye while your boys are once again headed for the golf course.

  3. I don’t get the Hackenberg thing? Never played a snap in two years? I guess it’s not a bad way to make a living.

  4. Theresa, the Pats don’t play in the AFC North where the Brown and Bungles do cuz if they did, they way they toy with the Steelers, they’d have the division locked up by Veterans Day.

  5. terripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year
    —————————
    Really???? Can’t you come up with anything new??????

  6. erripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year

    If only they played in that really competitive AFC South

    Remember when they showed that stat 2 years ago
    The Colts were a 500 team outside the division but 14-2 in the division

    That’s called making the playoffs because of your division

    The Patriots beat everyone

    #excusemaker

  7. terripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year
    ————————————————————————————
    Actually, the AFC East will likely finish with the very best combined W-L record of any division in the NFL this year, so you’re not just wrong, you’re completely, totally 180 degrees wrong.

  8. Don’t know how the Patriots does it. Injuries galore and they still drag themselves on top. Hopefully they can do a repeat SB win. Then maybe Tom Brady will retire and NFL will truly have a level playing field.

  9. terripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year
    ——————————————-
    It’s EASY when you’re the BEST team in the NFL
    there, FIXED IT for you, Nancy

  10. terripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year
    _______________________________

    Your on the wrong thread littlepet. The Steelers thread is one floor straight down. The AFCE is once again the winningest division in the conference,

  11. Every other AFC East team has a sub .500 record during Brady’s tenure. Pathetic.

    Even more pathetic when you consider the best AFC QB that Brady has had to go against is probably Ryan Tannehill. Who else? Mark Sanchez?

  12. The Pats grind out a 20 point margin win in zero degree weather, 26-6, lock up home field advantage, and PFT regulars want to pretend it’s all a gift.

    The Pats score more points and hold teams to less points. They have been sitting guys to get them healthy. Their poaching of practice squads and the waiver wire late in the season produced three sacks and a forced fumble today. Their special teams were excellent. They have two weeks to get even more healthy, practice, and gameplan. That’s a winning formula.

  13. elmerbrownelmerbrown says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:20 pm
    It’s a tuff tuff tuff division they come out of every year for like the last 15 years

    ————

    I know….at least the AFC East teams manage to beat the Pats once in a while. Just imaging if the Pats got to play the AFC North teams twice each season!

  14. terripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year
    ————————————————————-
    Wish the Pats could play the Bungles and Browns twice a year.
    And they’re 9-2 against the Ravens and 11-2 against the Steelers.

  15. terripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year
    ——————————————————

    Aren’t you a Colts fan?

    Tell us again about the worst division!
    That is rich!

    Have a great offseason! Enjoy watching the Patriots win another Superbowl, while you sit underneath your participation banner!

  16. terripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year

    then how come you and so many others had them not making the playoffs when they started 2-2?I bet you feel silly for saying that then so now you have to come up with this (which is equally silly just so you know)

  17. James Harrison with 5 Tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble and a QB hit in limited time. Thanks Tomlin! We sure do appreciate it!

  18. Correction: they won back to back titles after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. In 2002 as defending champs they missed the playoffs all together. The last time this team actually missed them with Brady as the qb (2008 he was hurt)

  19. Can’t tell much from these types of games. Sure the pats needed the win, so they did just enough, but the jets had quit and were ready for the offseason by halftime. As for James Harrison, it was garbage time against a team that had quit. Not saying the guys tank is empty, but let’s see how much is left in that tank against playoff teams and he has to set the edge and just not pin his ears back for the last series of a game where the jets were in a passing down every play. Always liked Harrison’s competitiveness. You know he won’t ever quit.

  20. randomcommenter says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:36 pm
    Every other AFC East team has a sub .500 record during Brady’s tenure. Pathetic.

    Even more pathetic when you consider the best AFC QB that Brady has had to go against is probably Ryan Tannehill. Who else? Mark Sanchez?

    Excuse making

    Why didn’t we hear these excuses when Manning was playing for the Colts??

    That was the worst division in the AFC his entire time in Indianapolis
    But no one ever mentioned it.

    That’s how we know when people make comments like the one above it’s out of jealousy

  21. Waiting for Florio’s take to be posted where he rubs salt in the wounds of Steelers fans regarding the outstanding play of the FAR from washed up James Harrison. Grievances will be aired and heads will be exploding tonight.

  22. I know….at least the AFC East teams manage to beat the Pats once in a while. Just imaging if the Pats got to play the AFC North teams twice each season!

    How often does any team besides the Pat’s ever make the playoffs from that putrid Group…..? Steelers Bengals and Ravens get there more that cup cake group …..silly troll.

  23. Pats looked rough and won strong anyway.Would love to see a real look at what the organization does to maintain so well. How about it PFT.
    What I see (just the last few weeks); they’re ready and composed for the next play whenever something wild happens; controversial call etc. Big ‘help your team’ emphasis that’s not a skin deep thing. Cut loose from elder vets who are at the top of their value despite being past their top effectiveness. What else? QB is GOAT I guess but also a player/coach/cheerleader

  24. nhpats says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    How can the Haters be so wrong year after year…
    _______________________________

    It’s an amusing combination of envy, jealousy, stupidity and bad vision. Troll vision is so bad it isn’t even 20/20 in hindsight.

  25. Tammy Hair Plugs and UGGs Brady will go down in history as the Lance Armstrong of football. A complete fraud. Convicted multiple cheater. Currently gorging on Brazilian HGH supplied to him by his equally sleepy trainer. All of the signs are there for obvious observation. Only clueless buffoon patriot fans deny the obvious

  26. theaveragecharlie says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:37 pm
    Of course they’re getting the top seed again. They play in the AFC East. That’s the real world equivalent of playing Cleveland six times a year.

    ————–

    Then how do the AFC East teams manage to beat the Pats sometimes while your team does not?

  27. hermanmerman99 says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:40 pm
    Tammy Hair Plugs and UGGs Brady will go down in history as the Lance Armstrong of football. A complete fraud. Convicted multiple cheater. Currently gorging on Brazilian HGH supplied to him by his equally sleepy trainer. All of the signs are there for obvious observation. Only clueless buffoon patriot fans deny the obvious

    Yet it’s amazing how he so much respect from former and current players and coaches around the league
    And the only time you hear this kind of talk is from CRYBABY jealous fans of other teams on the internet..

    #crybaby

  28. hats off to the patriots…they really should consider renaming the lombardi to the belichick…greatest coach ever & this is from a jet fan

  29. thermanmerman99 says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:40 pm
    Tammy Hair Plugs and UGGs Brady will go down in history as the Lance Armstrong of football. A complete fraud. Convicted multiple cheater. Currently gorging on Brazilian HGH supplied to him by his equally sleepy trainer. All of the signs are there for obvious observation. Only clueless buffoon patriot fans deny the obvious

    ———–

    Don’t worry, Brady will retire some day…..but your team will still stink

  30. terripet says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:24 pm
    It’s easy when you play in the worst division every year

    ______________________________________________

    Except the worst team in the afc east has more wins than the worst team in any other afc division. Steelers get the browns 2x per year. ‘Nuff said.

  31. Seriously flash? You mean like Marshall Faulk who is on record stating that the patriots knew every call the Rams were doing in the Superbowl? Or Jerome Bettis and the entire Steelers squad stating the exact same thing in an AFC title game loss? Are you including those “peers”

  32. “Patriots lock up first seed in AFC”

    ——————————-

    And after the game announce Al Riveron as their MVP, couldn’t have done it without him.

  33. thermanmerman99 says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:54 pm
    Seriously flash? You mean like Marshall Faulk who is on record stating that the patriots knew every call the Rams were doing in the Superbowl? Or Jerome Bettis and the entire Steelers squad stating the exact same thing in an AFC title game loss? Are you including those “peers”

    That’s great guy you picked out 2 bitter players good job

    Bill Cower the COACH of those Steelers teams also said “spy gate” was a joke.

    And we already know the Patriots didn’t film a rams practice that was a lie and the guy who wrote the article admitted it.

    What else do you have?

    Oh yeah … nothing

  34. thermanmerman99 says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Seriously flash? You mean like Marshall Faulk who is on record stating that the patriots knew every call the Rams were doing in the Superbowl? Or Jerome Bettis and the entire Steelers squad stating the exact same thing in an AFC title game loss? Are you including those “peers”
    ———————–
    “on record stating” … really? All that means is that he/they said it, doesn’t make it fact.

  35. tommyuggs says:
    December 31, 2017 at 4:23 pm
    Pats fans have to recognize that the offense looked sclerotic when not in the hands of Dion Lewis. Brady was mediocre, as he has been for a few weeks (it’s not that he’s old so much as that he appears to be hurt or otherwise off); Cooks was lethargic; and Dorsett, dropping balls, demonstrated why he was rarely targeted over the season. The D played well enough, although in the few snaps Harrison had, the Jets, of all teams, made big plays. Pats may or may not stumble into the AFCCG, but after today the SB looks like a long shot.

    13 119 Rate This

    ———————————

    Lol!!!!!

  36. Tee hee 🙂 Salty as expected.

    Laughable that Patriot Hater ever thought they were ever in OUR league. LAUGHABLE.

    🙂

  37. Seriously flash? You mean like Marshall Faulk who is on record stating that the patriots knew every call the Rams were doing in the Superbowl? Or Jerome Bettis and the entire Steelers squad stating the exact same thing in an AFC title game loss? Are you including those “peers”

    ——-/

    Faulk and Bettis’ teams were out coached. Mike Martz? Please, the guy stunk. Tomlin? Really? Or maybe it was Cowher, he was good at spitting but he tried to win with Kordell Stewart and Niel ODonnell. Not smart, over rated.

    They got beat and are still crying about. Big fat babies

  38. Still celebrating the win this afternoon – sure was cold out there.

    Hey, did you guy see James Harrison today? 27 snaps, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble. He looked exactly like he did last year in KC when he saved the Steelers season (for another week anyway – until they came to Foxborough and got humiliated).

  39. thermanmerman99 says:

    December 31, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Tammy Hair Plugs and UGGs Brady will go down in history as the Lance Armstrong of football. A complete fraud. Convicted multiple cheater. Currently gorging on Brazilian HGH supplied to him by his equally sleepy trainer. All of the signs are there for obvious observation. Only clueless buffoon patriot fans deny the obvious

    what exactly bothers you more, the Uggs or the plugs? Gorging? really?

  40. thermanmerman99 says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Seriously flash? You mean like Marshall Faulk who is on record stating that the patriots knew every call the Rams were doing in the Superbowl? Or Jerome Bettis and the entire Steelers squad stating the exact same thing in an AFC title game loss? Are you including those “peers”

    Marshall has made a post NFL career out of crying for any audience who will listen to his absurd story based on a fictitious story by Jon Tomase that was proven to be and admittedly a lie. It’s a beloved fable amongst some fans of some teams that have lost to NE. Faulk jumped on this as his way of staying relevant, sort of a loser version of Mercury Morris or someone channeling Tomlin after a loss. Bettis and the Steelers whining about everything and anything is hardly news. For a team that gets PLENTY of zebra assistance they have a lot to say when it goes the other way.

  41. thermanmerman99 says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Seriously flash? You mean like Marshall Faulk who is on record stating that the patriots knew every call the Rams were doing in the Superbowl? Or Jerome Bettis and the entire Steelers squad stating the exact same thing in an AFC title game loss? Are you including those “peers”
    ——————————————————————————————–
    Smarter players, like the ones that Belichick always has as line backers, have high football IQ’s. Being smart allows them to quickly look at factors such as down & distance, score & game clock, personnel on the field, formation & motion, and stance & position of individual players and make fairly accurate deductions based on a full season of game films, where team & player tendencies are identified. Some teams would be more predictable in certain situations and would be easy to figure out. Crybabies and excuse makers wouldn’t understand any of that and would assume that someone was cheating.

  42. thermanmerman99 says:
    December 31, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Tammy Hair Plugs and UGGs Brady
    ———————————————————

    Some may consider calling someone else’s husband by a pet name to be creepy. Some may consider those who care enough to talk about someone else’s hair to be creepy. Attempting to criticize someone for receiving endorsement checks for playing a professional sport is silly.

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