That feeling is in the air again. Only a few short weeks till the Pats host another playoff game at Gillette Stadium. One more matchup with the Dolphins should be smooth sailing right?. What can go wrong?
The Patriots have played 15 games and with only 1 remaining, this question is posed. Should New England start their starters in Miami and if they do how long do they go? Lots of factors play into this. The Patriots number 1 seed is still not locked up yet. With a win from the Raiders and a New England loss versus the Dolphins, the Pats drop to the number 2 seed. While it’s not the end of the world dropping to the 2 seed, it is a little bit uncomfortable going to the Blackhole in Oakland for a potential AFC Championship game.
New England has to be very careful with they handle things. Here’s how I would approach the game on Sunday. I would start the 1st string for a half (AT MOST) then I’d bench them and call it a day. Why risk it? The team has a bye week next week. This Patriots team cannot afford anymore-key injuries to big name players. The team struggles as is in Miami. This would also be a great time to showcase more Jimmy Garoppolo whether he’s the future Patriots quarterback or not.
Let’s rewind a few years back to 2012. Week 11 versus the Indianapolis Colts and the Patriots are up by more then 30 points with 3 minutes to go in the game. Pats go for an extra point and Rob Gronkowski is blocking. Yes, you read that right. What do you think happened next? Of course he gets injured and he’s out 4 weeks with a broken forearm. When he came back later that season he was not the same dynamic player. He reinjured his forearm again in the 1s playoff game and he was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs.
Do we really want to see another wacky play like this end a season of a star player? God bless Bill Belichick and all he has accomplished. He’ll go down as one of the best coaches in the game. On that day though, he totally butchered a simple situation. It’ll be interesting to see how Belichick handles his roster on Sunday.
Taking a look at the playoff field in the AFC, I would feel cautiously optimistic as a Pats fan. The QB position is a complete joke in the AFC playoffs. Besides Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, there’s not much out there to be honest. Matt McGloin, Alex Smith, Matt Moore and Tom Savage. Gross! Looking at that list of quarterbacks, it would be a massive failure if New England doesn’t make it to the Super Bowl.
We’re not totally sure on who the Pats will play in the divisional round as there’s plenty more football left to be played. One thing is for certain however; the Patriots will be the clear-cut favorite to win the AFC. The only ones that are going to stop them from getting to the Super Bowl is themselves. So please Bill, for the love of god, keep this team healthy going into the playoffs.