Wednesday, December 01, 2010
As if you hadn't heard, the Patriots play the Jets Monday night. And I for one, cannot wait. Because this is the most important game of the regular season. The winner will likely claim the AFC East title, an inside track to the #1 seed in the AFC, and an almost guaranteed bye in the playoffs as at least the #2 seed.
The loser, even if they finish with the 2nd or 3rd best record in the Conference, will get nothing better than a 5 seed. That means no bye, that means playing on the road.
So if the Patriots lose, they could be forced to travel to Indianapolis or San Diego to start the playoffs, despite having a better record AND beating both those teams in the regular season.
That may sound like a raw deal, but that's just how it is.
So it's safe to say that whoever wins this game will get an extra week off (in this topsy-turvy, anyone-can-beat-anyone NFL, how vital is that?), and get to play at home. The loser gets a tough road game, then another tough road game, then likely another tough road game.
This is not a must win game for either team. It's not like a playoff game, because you can't lose a playoff game and still have a chance to win the Super Bowl. The loser of this game will be in the playoffs, they'll just have a much more difficult road to travel. But the winner will get to skip a round, and play at home.