Despite their slim playoff chances, Patriots QB Cam Newton still has plenty of motivation left in the tank.
Let’s call it what it is: the New England Patriots have to go undefeated down the stretch to save their season, and even that might not be enough, as they currently sit two games behind the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC (held by the Dolphins) with three weeks remaining.
To put it simply, their season — unless something unprecedented transpires — is over. While looking ahead to the offseason might be a silver lining for Patriots fans since the team is expected to undergo major roster changes, what about playing spoiler against division rivals?
In his weekly segment with WEEI Radio, quarterback Cam Newton hinted that the remaining schedule presents a great opportunity for the Patriots to end their season on a positive note, regardless of whether they qualify for the playoffs.
Even while his future with the franchise is being questioned, Newton still found a way to liven the spirits of the fan base. If that isn’t a summation of the unwavering leadership he’s showcased in 2020, then nothing is.
The Patriots’ remaining schedule starts with a road clash against the Dolphins next weekend and closes with home dates vs the Bills and Jets. At 8-5, Miami is admittedly positioned nicely to make the playoffs, but nothing is guaranteed in the loaded AFC. A second consecutive loss could easily have them on the outside looking in with tough games against Las Vegas and Buffalo remaining.
Barring an epic collapse, Buffalo will make the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean the Patriots can’t beat them and hurt their seeding to ensure they get the toughest opponent possible in the first round. After all, only one team gets a bye this season and that will most likely come down to the Chiefs or Steelers.
As for the Jets, well, a loss by the Patriots in the final game of the season could derail their campaign to nab the first overall pick. However, we really don’t think head coach Bill Belichick is diabolical enough to mail it in and purposely lose to prevent that from happening.
A blowout win to make up for the near embarrassment in Week 9 — when they won on a last-second field goal — would be a satisfying way for New England to close their season, even if it means confirming that New York’s tank job worked. And if the Patriots win out, then who knows? There’s a good chance they can at least eliminate Miami from the postseason.
Don’t get it twisted, folks: there’s still plenty for the Patriots to play for in 2020.