The Patriots don’t play until Monday, so here is a rooting guide for Sunday’s early games.
1:00 PM EST
Cardinals (-2) at Dolphins: The Patriots will be rooting for the Cardinals to win because an Arizona victory, coupled with a Patriots win on Monday Night Football clinches the AFC East for New England.
Steelers (-3) at Bills: Normally the Patriots would root against a divisional rival, but the Patriots want Buffalo to win because a Steelers loss, along with a Dolphins loss and a Patriots win on Monday clinches a first round bye for the Patriots.
Broncos at Titans (-1.5): The Patriots will be rooting for the Titans to win so Tennessee can keep pace in the AFC South, and to keep Denver on the brink of the playoff picture.
Texans at Colts (-6.5): The Texans are the worse team so New England will be pulling for a Texans victory. A win by Houston doesn’t eliminate the Colts, but it gives the Texans a 2-game lead (Houston would have the season sweep) with three games to go.
Bengals (-6) at Browns: The Patriots defeated both teams, so out of the kindness of New England’s heart, maybe they’ll want the Browns to avoid going winless this year.
Chargers at Panthers (-1): The AFC West faced the NFC South, so this game will have a marginal impact on strength of schedule and victory. The Patriots will want the Panthers to win because a San Diego win counts double.
Vikings (-3.5) at Jaguars: The Patriots would like for the Vikings to remain ahead of the Packers in the NFC North.
Bears at Lions (-8): This game doesn’t affect the Patriots, but a Lions win will keep them atop the NFC North. The Patriots would rather Detroit win the division than Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
Washington (-3) at Eagles: This game doesn’t affect the Patriots.
Use this as the open thread for discussion.