This is the first time in a long time we have to figure out what to do without the Patriots in the playoffs entirely. It’s been easy to root against teams that might knock the Patriots out of the playoffs, but no we really don’t have any enemies or rivals in this postseason. On the other hand, there are some easy teams to like as Patriot fans, and here’s a few teams you might find yourself pulling to make it to the Super Bowl.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This is the easiest one right. After being a disciple of Tom Brady for the past 20 years, who wouldn’t want to see this guy make another run at the Super Bowl, and maybe get his 7th ring and retire? He’s got the squad to do it, and another good friend of ours in Rob Gronkowski to throw to on his playoff run as well. Not to mention his very likable weapons like Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Rojo. The one guy most people might be opposed to rooting for is Antonio Brown, and with good reason after his issues he’s had. This is definitely a team with a real shot, so if you don’t hold a grudge against TB12, this is most likely your squad.
- Tennessee Titans: Another team that’s got some old fan favorites of the Pats. Mike Vrabel is their head coach, who has a very Belichick like coaching style. Not only that, he is the only former Patriot to have some coaching success. They also still have former Patriot hero Malcolm Butler in their defensive backfield. He has definitely lost a step, but he still has his fair share of good plays and is a very likable player. Not to mention the resurgence of Ryan Tannehill, and the NFL’s rushing champ Derrick Henry, who is an absolute blast to watch run the ball. The Titans are poised for a deep playoff run and I would love to see them upset some teams in this AFC.
- Washington Football Team: This is for those of you that feel the opposite about TB12, and hold a grudge for him leaving. Regardless of who’s fault it was, he left us in the dust to go 7-9 while he goes to play with his shiny new toys in Florida. And not to mention the great comeback story of Alex Smith. He was told he would never play football, walk, or potentially even die. But here he is starting in the playoffs a year after almost losing his leg. What’s not to love about that story. They could also be the only team in NFL history without a team name to win a Super Bowl, how great is that?!
- Cleveland Browns: As Patriots fans, we know how to appreciate a real underdog story. The Pats had such a long stretch of mediocrity from the late 80’s into most of the 90’s. But in 2001 we know the story of the beginning of the Dynasty, and the Browns are currently pulling themselves out of their very long stretch of mediocrity this year. This is their first playoff appearance since 2002, ending a 17 year stretch of not making the playoffs. Baker Mayfield is a fun QB with attitude to root for, and they have a very all around talented team. If they’re going to make a run, then they are going to have to remain disciplined.
Honorable Mention – New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts: These would be feel good good stories for some old QBs that haven’t won as much as they should have. Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers have been around this league for a long time. Drew has only won 1 ring, and Rivers has never tasted the sweet nectar of victory. If you’ve been a fan of either of these guys there’s a good chance you might be pulling for their teams to win it all. Other than these tenured QBs, their teams don’t have much other to root for as a Patriot fan.
-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)
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