To be honest, at first I wasn't even going to write this article. This most recent loss to the New York Jets didn't even hit my radar, and I was just ready to move on and focus on keeping more players on the sidelines as the Patriots get ready for the AFC Divisional Round. However, I was somewhat surprised to see more than a few Pats fans lamenting this one, so I figured I'd come through with five positives we can all take away from a game that ultimately didn't really mean all that much from a New England perspective.
Affordable loss. The Patriots can absolutely afford to lose this game. They are already locked in for a first round bye and still have a prime opportunity to secure the #1 seed against Miami on Sunday. It obviously would have been nice to already have the #1 seed locked up coming into Week 17...but to be honest, even if the Pats don't win against the Fins either, they are still in great shape; any other team slated for homefield throughout the playoffs isn't a sure bet to with their home game, so chances are good that the Patriots end up hosting the AFC Championship anyway, should they make it that far. Plus, with the Steelers losing, the team that most folks picked as the most dangerous in the conference is suddenly on the outside looking in. So even in loss, it was still a victory. To call this loss affordable is an understatement.
Expected loss. I know I saw this L coming a mile away, and I feel like a lot of you did as well. Personally, I find that expected losses are always significantly easier to deal with than ones like...oh...say, a loss at home to the Eagles. The Jets needed this game, the Patriots were resting key weapons on offense, it was on the road, and sweeping the division is an extremely tall order. This is one of those games a lot of folks, myself included, had pegged as a loss all the way back in August. Because of that, there's very much a "who cares?" feel here.
Seriously...does anybody care? Is anyone actually upset in the slightest about this game? I mean sure, it would have been nice to lock up the one seed on Sunday, but is anyone even remotely mad here? There were no healthy bodies for New England, they didn't even really try to move the ball downfield, the Jets are as healthy and hot as it gets, and the whole effort seemed a bit lackluster right from the start. I snoozed through this game, and New England pretty much did the same. And if the Patriots can't be bothered with the game, then I can't be either.
Only one player got hurt. This might be the first time all season that only one player went down with a gross-looking injury. And while you obviously don't want any injuries, we all knew that simply wasn't going to happen, so one injury is about the best we can hope for. It would be nice if it happened to a non-tackle, but what can you do. It's kind of par for the course at this point. Yes, we're at a place where we can be happy when the cart only comes out once. That's just the 2015 Patriots.
Giants are out! Woo hoo! Huge win all around on Sunday, courtesy of the Redskins on Saturday night. Far more beneficial than failing to secure the one-seed this week was knowing that there is now zero chance that the Giants finish 8-8, sneak into the playoffs, go on some miracle run, and beat the Patriots 21-20 in the Super Bowl on some ridiculous play. That's more than I could have asked for from a weekend of football, so I'm just right as rain this fine Tuesday morning.