Why Patriots should be confident about earning first-round bye in AFC playoffs


Week 17 games often have been meaningless for the New England Patriots, but Sunday's matchup with the rival New York Jets at Gillette Stadium is anything but meaningless.

The Patriots will secure at least the No. 2 seed, and a coveted first-round bye, in the AFC playoffs if they beat the Jets. A loss for the Patriots could drop them as far as the No. 4 seed depending on how the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens fare in their Week 17 games.

Patriots fans shouldn't be too concerned about their favorite team losing to the Jets, though. New York is in last place in the AFC East with a 4-11 record, and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has owned the Jets at home throughout his career, as evidenced in the tweet below:

The Patriots beat the Jets 27-13 at MetLife Stadium back in Week 12. It was New England's first game after a Week 11 bye. It was one of the Jets' eight losses in their last nine games. 

The Patriots have never reached the Super Bowl as a wild card playoff team in Bill Belichick's 18-year tenure with the franchise, and given the inconsistency this roster has shown this season, it's unlikely it would be able to win three straight playoff games (and likely two on the road) to return to the Super Bowl. 

This makes Sunday's game versus the Jets of the utmost importance.

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