With the Houston Texans knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals and advancing to the divisional round to take on the New England Patriots, there have been immediate comparisons to New England's playoff debacle against the New York Jets back in the 2010-11 season.
Back in 2010, the Patriots embarrassed the Jets on Monday Night Football as they ran New York out of Gillette Stadium with a 45-3 victory. New England's dominant win over the Jets was much like the team's thrashing against the Texans earlier this season in Week 14.
Much like 2010, the Patriots knocked off the Texans on Monday Night Football with a 42-14 victory.
The Texans then finished the season as the No. 3 seed and were forced to play on Wild Card weekend—much like the 2010 Jets.
As the Texans took care of business against the Bengals, they will travel to Gillette for a rematch against New England—much like the Jets in 2010.
So as you can see, the comparisons are endless—but are they really that accurate?
What I want to know is: Is it really that hard to beat the same team twice?
Without doing any research and simply going with my gut feeling, I have to say no.
For starters, look at the New York Giants from a year ago. The Giants were able to go into Gillette Stadium and beat the Patriots and then marched all the way to the Super Bowl to beat the Patriots yet again.
So is that just an exception? I don't think so.
For starters, look at all of these divisional rivals that square off in the playoffs. It happens almost year after year. With the two divisional foes squaring off in the playoffs, that means that the two teams will have then met for a total of three times—which obviously means that one team is walking away with two victories.
I mean, it's simple math.
Look at the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings this year. The two teams split their two regular season games and the Packers dominated with a 24-10 victory at Lambeau Field this past Saturday.
Now took a look at the comparison that everyone seems to be making: The Patriots and Jets in 2010. People seem to forget that the Patriots lost their first match-up against their divisional rival back in Week 2 of 2010, as the Jets doubled the Patriots, 28-14.
So wouldn't you know? The Jets beat the Patriots twice in 2010.
So is it really that hard to beat the same team twice? I really don't think so. I think that it's completely irrelevant.
However, since the 2010 NFL season, teams that have played only twice—so that's disregarding divisional foes—have met a total of 16 times in the playoffs. The teams that won the first matchup have won seven times while the team that lost the first matchup ended up winning the playoff game nine times.
So for the teams that won the first matchup only posted a 7-9 record in the second game.
Granted, that gives the losing team the edge, but it's only a difference of two games.
Essentially, I'm not buying the whole idea "it's hard to beat the same team twice."
Seven teams have done it over the past three playoffs—so why can't the Patriots do it?
Ultimately, the better team will win. The better team will make fewer mistakes and will capitalize on the opposing team's mistakes. That's the definition of the better team.
If you ask me, I feel that the Patriots are the better team and proved it with their dominant performance against the Texans back in Week 14.
With that being said, I feel that the Patriots will advance to the AFC Championship with a victory next Sunday.
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