Disappointed that there won’t be a Patriots game to watch this weekend? There are 14 NFL games spread across three days, including the first ever game in Germany, so you can definitely get your football fix. With the Bucs and Seahawks kicking off at 9:30 AM EST on Sunday, you can pretty much sit on your couch for 15 straight hours watching football. But who should you root for during these games? Here’s your definitive cheering guide for the Patriots bye week.
Rooting guide for the Patriots: Thursday Night Football
Atlanta at Carolina, 8:15
This NFC South battle won’t exactly attract the eyeballs to Amazon Prime on Thursday, but these two teams played a tremendously entertaining game two weeks ago which ended in an Atlanta overtime victory. A reminder to everyone to keep your helmet on! You should root for an Atlanta win here as each Panther loss results in a better third round draft pick for the Patriots in 2023.
Seattle at Tampa Bay (Game in Munich, Germany), 9:30
This game doesn’t directly affect the Patriots but there is the Tom Brady factor. The GOAT proved once again last week that you can never count him out and there’s the chance this could be his final season so take advantage of getting to watch him with no other games on. Also, what better way to start a Sunday than waking up to coffee, eggs and Tom Brady?
Houston at New York Giants, 1:00
Not much in this game but you can always root for the group of former Patriots in Houston: Brandin Cooks, Phillip Dorsett and Rex Burkhead. Plus, it’s always good to see the Giants lose.
Minnesota at Buffalo, 1:00
The weeks are starting to dwindle away and with the Patriots at 5-4, they are looking up in both the AFC East and the playoff picture. Josh Allen might not be able to go in this one and Patriots fans should be rooting for a Vikings win to help shorten the gap in the division.
Detroit at Chicago, 1:00
The Patriots have already played these two teams, defeating the Lions and losing to the Bears. One of the tiebreakers for the playoffs is Strength of Victory so the Patriots would like the Lions to win some games like they did against the Packers last week. Root for Detroit here.
Denver at Tennessee, 1:00
Tennessee looks to be a clear runaway in the dreadful AFC South while Denver looks worse each time I see them on tv. A Denver win would get them to 4-5 and continue to muddle up the AFC playoff picture. Root for a Tennessee win and for some separation between the Patriots and the rest of the middling teams of the AFC.
Jacksonville at Kansas City, 1:00
Remember when the AFC West was going to be full of great teams this year? Looks like people confused that division with the AFC East. Anyways, Kansas City is clearly the class of their division and remains a top threat in the AFC. We don’t need Jacksonville getting back in the playoff picture so root for Kansas City even though it’s tough to cheer for Travis Kelce or Brittany Mahomes.
Cleveland at Miami, 1:00
Patriots fans have two reasons to root for the Browns here. One, a Dolphins loss would help within the division. Two, with a win already over Cleveland, wins by the Browns continue to help the Patriots Strength of Victory.
New Orleans at Pittsburgh, 1:00
I almost went with Pittsburgh for the Strength of Victory factor but then I remembered it’s the Steelers. Plus, you don’t want Pittsburgh trying to get back into the playoff picture.
Indianapolis at Las Vegas, 4:05
It’s been a rough year for both of these teams who came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Jeff Saturday makes his NFL coaching debut for the Colts and Josh McDaniels tries to avoid falling to 2-7. Root for the Colts here, as the Patriots already have the head-to-head win and each loss by Las Vegas makes it more likely that they may be in the tank by the time the Patriots play them in mid-December. Plus, each loss by the Raiders helps the Patriots get a better sixth round pick in the draft.
Dallas at Green Bay, 4:25
No real dog in the fight here as the Patriots have already faced off with the Packers this season and lost. I might still root for Green Bay as it’s always nice to see the Cowboys lose, especially after Jerry Jones got into a heated exchange with Robert Kraft at the owner’s meetings. “America’s Team” hasn’t won anything in 27 years, let’s keep it going.
Arizona at LA Rams, 4:35
Another matchup of two disappointing teams, is Kliff Kingsbury the next coach to get the axe? Again, two reasons to root for Arizona here. One, the Patriots play the Cardinals in December so it would potentially help the Strength of Victory and two, the Patriots have the Rams’ fourth round pick as part of the Sony Michel trade from last year. Would be nice to have that in the top half of the round.
LA Chargers at San Francisco, 8:20
Jimmy G! You can root for the one that got away and for a Chargers loss as they are the team that holds the final AFC playoff spot ahead of the Patriots at the moment.
Monday Night Football
Washington at Philadelphia, 8:15
The Eagles are 8-0 and if you look at their schedule, it shapes up for them to give it a good shot at going undefeated. Although it ended badly in 2007, I like the fact that the Patriots are the only team to ever go 16-0 in a regular season. Root for Washington to keep it that way.