Foxborough, MA - The New England Patriots opened their 2018-19 season with a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans before quickly falling to 1-2. Then, New England went on a tear by winning six games in a row, including one crucial game against the Kansas City Chiefs, before losing on Sunday to the Tennessee Titans. This left the team with a 7-3 record going into a BYE week that, frankly, could not have come soon enough for a Patriots team that seemed like it was on the verge of being devoured by injuries. (Fortunately, for example, Julian Edelman’s foot injury is not believed to be serious and it is reported that he will likely miss no time with the ailment.)
At 7-3, the Patriots seem primed to capture the AFC East division title, but this was ultimately a likelihood that was never really in doubt by Patriots fans and NFL analysts alike. The rest of the division is frankly not strong enough to compete with New England and they haven’t been for what seems like ages now.
However, the number one seed in the AFC side of the post-season is undoubtedly going to be an uphill battle for the Patriots. Their top competition for this potential recognition comes in the form of the Chiefs, who have clearly been the best team in the AFC all season, with a record of 9-1. The Patriots’ 43-40 victory over Kansas City is crucial now as the Patriots own the tiebreaker with the Chiefs, if the Patriots can manage to win out and the Chiefs find a way to lose two games.
The best chances for these come this week, when the Chiefs play the NFL’s best, the Los Angeles Rams, and later in the season when they face the San Diego Chargers. The Patriots have the advantage of playing a weaker division with two games against the New York Jets and one of each against the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. It seems unlikely that the Patriots could nab the number one overall seed, but there is a path for them to do so. The major problem they’ll have to work out first is the slow start the team always seems to get off to. First and second quarter scoring has been a major problem for New England and this will have to be the top thing Bill Belichick and the coaching staff address.