The New England Patriots have reached the AFC Championship Game for six straight seasons and they just need to win one playoff game this year to make it make. It’s probable that every single oddsmaker would say that it’s more likely than not that the Patriots will win a playoff game.
“It’s funny that I feel like the Patriots will be one-and-done in the playoffs,” Ware said on NFL Network’s show Players Only. “And the reason why I say that is because they have not played teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars. They still got to play the Pittsburgh Steelers again. They got to play teams that can really bring pressure and when those pressure situations come on [Tom] Brady, you know what’s going to happen: he folds. He did the same in the  AFC Championship against the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins and so [...] one-and-done. [Brady’s] going to fold [under pressure].”
Whew. That’s a spicy take for a lot of reasons.
The Patriots cannot play the Steelers in their first playoff game and will only play the Jaguars if New England falls to the New York Jets in week 17 and the Jaguars win their wild card game. Jacksonville is locked in to the #3 seed, so the Patriots would hav eto be the #2 seed to face them in the divisional round.
So the two teams that Ware proposes as teams capable of defeating the Patriots are extremely unlikely opponents for New England’s first postseason game.
The teams the Patriots are more likely to face in the divisional round are the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Los Angeles Chargers, or the Buffalo Bills. They all feature some pretty great pass rushers, with the Chargers having arguably the best pass rushing duo in the NFL with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.
But the Patriots have a 3-1 record against these teams in 2017 and Tom Brady has gone 15-2 against these teams over the past five seasons, including postseason wins against both the Ravens and Chiefs (both losses were to the Chiefs and I’m not counting a 2014 week 17 loss to the Bills when the Patriots rested their starters).
Past ten seasons by Tom Brady against the possible AFC playoff teams:— Rich Hill (@PP_Rich_Hill) December 27, 2017
KC 2-2 (not including 2008 opener)
BUF 17-1 (not including 2014 finale without starters)
Unless the Patriots are playing the Chiefs early in the regular season or magic Joe Flacco, New England is capable of taking care of business against these opponents.
And then there’s the idea that Tom Brady “folds” under pressure. That is true, to a certain extent as Brady does play worse under pressure (as does every quarterback in the NFL).
But both of those games mentioned were one-score games and unless the 2015 Broncos defense is walking through the door against a team with the worst offensive line of the Bill Belichick era and Steven Jackson at running back, or Brady is missing both Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski in Miami, the Patriots are not going to succumb as obviously to the pressure.
Ware seems to be projecting the 2015 Broncos success against the Patriots, which simply isn’t going to be replicated prior to New England’s first playoff game, barring a series of incredibly unfortunate injuries in the regular season finale.