Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots clinch No. 2 seed, bye


All the chips fell into place for the New England Patriots, and they took care of business on a chilly day in Foxboro with a 28-0 wipeout of the Miami Dolphins after the Indianapolis Colts took care of business by upsetting the Houston Texans. With the way the Texans have played recently, it wasn’t really an upset, especially since both of those teams are playoff-caliber teams. The Texans, by the way, are 0-11 in their history while playing in Indianapolis.

The Patriots now have locked up the all-important bye after earning the No. 2 seed over the team they blew out 42-14 on Monday Night Football. The Denver Broncos are still locked into the No. 1 seed, and it looks like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have a date with destiny in the AFC Championship game. Both teams faced off against each other early this season, and the Patriots came out on top by a solid margin. I think the Pats are the better team, but both teams are evenly matched.

Anyway, the key thing for the Patriots is that the bye allows their players to rest up. Guys like Alfonzo Dennard, Aqib Talib, Sebastian Vollmer, Brandon Spikes, and Rob Gronkowski could all do with the extra rest after recently having injuries. Rob Ninkovich was also injured in the second quarter of the Dolphins game, so the extra week could mean the difference between him sitting out the first postseason game with a hip injury or him beating up on the opponent’s right tackle.

Looking back at the Colts 28-16 victory over the Texans, the Tuck Rule also benefited the Colts in this one (and the Patriots indirectly). Early in the contest, J.J. Watt and Connor Barwin broke through and forced a fumble from Andrew Luck. They recovered it at the Colts 14-yard line, but the fumble was overturned due to the Tuck Rule. Let’s keep this one guys. On a side note, the Colts offensive line is just putrid, which gives even more credence to the incredible job Luck has done as a rookie. Is he already a top ten quarterback? Matt Schaub is regarded as a top ten QB, but it looks like Luck has taken his place. Just look at how the two performed on the same field yesterday; Luck was clearly better.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

Tags: Andrew Luck Bill Belichick Indianapolis Colts New England Patriots