Friday, December 26, 2014

The Patriots need a win Sunday to avoid a below average Brady/Belichick regular season

With one game remaining in the NFL's regular season the 12-3 Patriots appear to be the cream of the crop.  They're the first team to clinch home field advantage and the only club so far to secure a playoff bye.

It's the fifth consecutive year New England has finished with one of the top two records in the conference and avoided playing in the first round of the postseason (something no team had ever done before).

One other stat I love--the Pats defense hasn't given up a second-half touchdown in five games (since they played the Colts on November 16).

But despite all of this, if the Patriot's don't win an otherwise meaningless game vs. the Bills on Sunday New England will finish with a below average record for the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era.  Going back to 2001 (Brady's first year as a starter), the Patriots have averaged 12.15 victories per regular season.

To put in perspective just how ridiculous that is, consider this: In the now 14-year stretch that the Pats have averaged slightly more than 12 wins per season, there are nine NFL franchises that haven't won 12 games in any season (Miami, NY Jets, Buffalo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Oakland, Washington, Arizona, and Detroit, although both the Cardinals and Lions could this year).

I'm not advocating for the Patriots to try their best against Buffalo though.  If it were up to me I'd play Brady for just the first series, and I wouldn't even let Rob Gronkowski put on his uniform.  My preseason prediction was 12 wins anyway...

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