It’s hard to believe, but believe it Patriots fans. The New England Patriots are back in the playoffs! After a one year hiatus, the Patriots secured a playoff berth with a 50-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon. Now that the Patriots are in the playoffs, let’s speculate toward the playoffs. The playoffs will be fun with a lot of good teams coming out of the AFC. So let’s look at the teams the Patriots should want to play in the 2021 NFL playoffs.
Los Angeles Chargers
This would be the best case scenario for the Patriots, and it’s actually possible. If the Patriots beat Miami Sunday and both the Titans and Bills lose Sunday, the Patriots can move up to the three seed. This could put them in a situation for a home wild card game against the Chargers. The Patriots beat the Chargers 27-24 on the road earlier this season. This is a good matchup because Justin Herbert has had two of his worst career starts against the Patriots. If Herbert repeats it a third time, the Patriots will have a field day against the Chargers. This would be an awesome scenario for this Patriots team.
This is more of a realistic situation than the Chargers. Remember, the Patriots don’t play the Dolphins in Miami particularly well. So if they lose and the Colts win, the Colts own the head-to-head tie breaker. This would knock the Patriots to the six seed and could set them up with a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. We know how well the Bengals have been in 2021, winning the AFC North. But the one thing that the Bengals have against them is playoff experience. Yes, the Bengals have a good offense with Joe Burrow, Ja’Mar Chase and Tee Higgins. But the offensive line for Cincinnati is mediocre at best. I’d like my chances if I were the Patriots in Cincinnati.
This is the most realistic situation and is the one I personally fear the most. Playing an in-division opponent in the playoffs is rough enough. Remember, the Bills beat the Patriots pretty convincingly in New England. The game in Buffalo? It would’ve been very different if the weather was halfway decent. The Patriots know they’ll run the ball a lot against the Bills defense. Buffalo’s pass defense is one of the top in the NFL, so Mac Jones will have a tough day if they try to throw the ball a ton. This is a nightmare matchup if you’re New England in the first round.
It’s great to see the Patriots back in the playoffs. Their first round opponent remains to be seen. But for now, take care of Miami and let everything else sort itself out. If you somehow end up with a home game in the first round of the playoffs, great. If not, then take care of business on the road like you have the whole 2021 season. Get ready, Patriots fans. The next few weeks are going to be fun!
Photo Courtesy: bostonglobe.com/
-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793 on Twitter)
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