Patriots’ record vs winning teams proves they could run the table
By Jerry Trotta
The Patriots have a slim chance at making the playoffs, but their record against winning teams in 2020 proves fans shouldn’t give up hope.
The New England Patriots had a tremendous chance to bolster their playoff odds vs the Texans two weekends ago, and they shockingly came up short after Cam Newton was unable to out-duel Deshaun Watson.
Everybody seemed to write them off after that loss (understandably so), but the Patriots bounced back in upset fashion with a huge win over Arizona this past Sunday to keep their playoff aspirations alive. The math is obviously still working against them, and they’ll need a lot of help from other teams down the stretch, but what matters is that there’s still a chance.
Given that the Patriots are well behind the eight ball and their remaining schedule is no cake walk, fans might have already given up hope. However, when you consider that New England is tied for the most wins in the NFL against teams with winning records (four) this season, you’ll come to the realization that them running the table is very much in the realm of possibility.
In fact, the .463 combined winning percentage of opponents the Patriots have toppled in 2020 trails only Las Vegas (a team they dispatched easily!) for the best mark in the league.
So you’re saying there’s a chance?
The Patriots have admittedly had some awful losses this season. Look no further than the Denver, San Francisco, and Houston debacles. However, their wins have been some of the most impressive we’ve seen from any team in the league.
We know hindsight is 20/20, but they were literally one yard short against Seattle in Week 2 from starting the season 3-0 against playoff teams (Dolphins, Seahawks and Raiders). The Patriots were also a Newton fourth quarter fumble away vs Buffalo earlier in the year from potentially winning the game in the final minute or sending things to overtime. And the next time they face the Bills will be from the comforts of their own home.
Things tend to go a little better there, even in the nightmare year that is 2020.
Again, these are all hypotheticals, but the fact of the matter is that head coach Bill Belichick’s side has been within striking distance in every game but one (the 49ers blowout) this season. On top of that, the opponents on their remaining schedule — the Chargers, Rams, Dolphins, Bills and Jets — have all looked incredibly vulnerable or downright terrible (the, uh, Jets) in recent weeks.
We know the Patriots are a deeply flawed team, but they are more than capable of grinding out wins against those sides. For now, however, all of our attention is focused on the Chargers, who seemingly do everything imaginable to lose games each week.