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Wednesday, December 22, 2004 

Patriot Games

The only difference between Tom Brady's poor decision Monday night and the pass he completed while sitting on the field last Sunday is that one didn't work and the other one did. Anyone who fell all over themselves in giddy laughter after the pass against the Bengals missed the point - you can't take chances in the passing game. I don't think Brady is going to turn into a gunslinger like Brett Favre, but he is starting to head towards Drew Bledsoe territory (remember Drew's attempted flip pass over his head against Pittsburgh in the 2001 AFC title game?).

As a Patriots fan, I've given up on home field, since they'd need to win 2 games (NY Jets, SF) while the Steelers lose 2 (Balt, Buffalo). New England does get a big break since San Diego plays at Indy on Sunday (if you're lucky enough to have DirecTV by the way, this one weekend may be worth the price of the entire season). The loser will have 4 losses, and if Indy loses New England clinches no worse than the 3rd seed (head-to-head tiebreaker). But a San Diego loss makes things interesting:

Tot vs AFC
NE 12-2 9-2
SD 11-3 8-2
IND 11-3 7-3

Thinking worst case, the Patriots finish at 12-4 with a 9-3 AFC record. San Diego splits, losing to Indy and beating KC to finish with the same records. Indy sweeps by defeating Denver and finishes 13-3 and gets the bye. Now we move to common games to decide NE vs. SD for the 3rd seed (assuming the scenario above).

NYJ 1-1 0-1
KC 1-0 2-0
Cleve 1-0 1-0

That's right, tied again at 3-1. So we'd move to strength of schedule next ... and it's too early in the AM for me to figure that out right now.

A three-way tie favors the Pats since they are 1-0 against Indy/SD, while the best the Colts can be is 1-1 with a win on Sunday. If the Chargers win, then the Colts drop out with an 0-2 record and it's NE vs. SD again.

Bottom line - if the Patriots win Sunday they should get a bye, since they'll have a one-game lead over 3rd place and most tie-breakers in hand.

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