Patriots emerge from bye with three key games in 12 days

Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots
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If the season ended today (and if it did that would mean something really bad has happened), the AFC East would send all four teams to the playoffs.

From first place to last, the AFC East would squat on the automatic berth and all three wild-card spots.

The Patriots are nevertheless in fourth place in the division, at 5-4. They have a chance to gain ground during a key 12-day stretch, which features three games.

On Sunday, the 6-3 Jets come to town. Then comes a short-week, Thanksgiving night visit to the 8-1 Vikings. Finally, one Thursday later, the Patriots host the 6-3 Bills.

Coach Bill Belichick was asked by reporters on Wednesday about the importance of staying focused on the task at hand during this critical trio of games. In his answer, Belichick proved that he’s indeed thinking only about what’s on tap.

“Yeah, we’re focused on the Jets right now,” Belichick said. “So, we’ll worry about next week next week.”

The Patriots had a bye in Week 10. The break interrupted a two-game stretch that consisted of a 22-17 win over the Jets and a 26-3 drubbing of the Colts that got Frank Reich fired. It was an impressive rebound from a 33-14 Monday night loss to the Bears.

The Patriots tend to get better as the season progresses. But they’re facing a significant challenge, given the dramatic improvement of the Jets and Dolphin in 2022. It will take every bit of Belichick’s ability to qualify for the postseason — and to avoid landing in the basement of his own division.

8 responses to “Patriots emerge from bye with three key games in 12 days

  1. I have not heard the word genius or the phrase “In Bill We Trust” in quite a while. Not even the Patriots faithful have faith Bill will take them to the playoffs.

  2. Who cares if you’re last in the division if you still qualify for the playoffs? But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves, because the Patriots still have eight games to play and their schedule is ranked the toughest the rest of the way. I just hope the defense continues to shine and the offense progresses. It’ll be great to have David Andrews back this weekend and to have a divisional game at home.

  3. Coach Bill Belichick was asked by reporters on Wednesday about the importance of staying focused on the task at hand during this critical trio of games. In his answer, Belichick proved that he’s indeed thinking only about what’s on tap.

    “Yeah, we’re focused on the Jets right now,” Belichick said. “So, we’ll worry about next week next week.”
    ———————————–
    Like he was going to say anything different. Might as well have a robot up there giving these answers.

  4. I do give props to the NFL schedule planners – the last few years the matchups at the end of the season are very enticing. Fun to watch.

  5. It’ll be great to have David Andrews back this weekend and to have a divisional game at home.

    —-
    Yup. Andrews being back should help Strange.

    Heard Barmore and Dugger are making progress on their returns. Having even one of them back would be massive.

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