Foxborough, MA - For the first time in a long time, most NFL fans and analysts are in agreement that the New England Patriots don't look right. There has been doubt before, but Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and company have been quick to squash any concerns. But this season, the struggles are apparent and the Patriots have seemed vulnerable. Despite the 11-5 record, the Patriots have still managed to secure their ninth consecutive first round BYE in the post-season and the number two seed in the AFC. It's a testament to the absurdly high quality of this era of football that even a weaker Patriots team can still secure a first round BYE.
The Kansas City Chiefs nabbed the number one overall seed, meaning that the Patriots will play either the Houston Texans, the Los Angeles Chargers, or the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round of the playoffs. (Being the lowest seed, the Indianapolis Colts could not mathematically come to Foxborough and, notably, the thorny Pittsburgh Steelers are not involved in the playoff picture this year.)
New England will have to wait until Wild Card Weekend is over to examine the possibilities for their team, but for now they can get some much needed rest, along with the players, in anticipation of what hopefully will be another long playoff run. Regardless, the utter dominance of the Patriots is undoubtedly astounding.
And it was all on display against the New York Jets on Sunday. The only score allowed by the Patriots defense came on a field goal from Jason Myers in the first quarter. It was all Patriots the rest of the way.
Brady went 24-33 for two hundred and fifty yards passing and four touchdowns, which were to James White, Rex Burkhead, Phillip Dorsett, and Julian Edelman. Brady was much better at spreading the ball around in this game, targeting seven different players (as opposed to last week's four), including Chris Hogan, a rare sight on the field, who was targeted eleven times. This happened en route to Brady becoming the fourth quarterback in NFL history to record six thousand completions, yet another milestone for the greatest quarterback of all time.
Kyle Van Noy added a fumble returned for a touchdown to bring the total score to 38-3 in the game, which is certainly a good taste for Patriots fans to have in their mouths as the post-season begins.