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Jetting towards home field advantage

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Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After a few days away from the computer due to holiday obligations, I’m officially back and better than ever. Christmas is over, I have the house all to myself for the next week until the Queen returns from her holiday trip back home, the newest member of the Patriots is the all-time sacks leader in Steelers history (for the folks over at Behind The Steel Curtain, that has to sting), and I couldn’t be more ready for Week 17.

It’s a very short list of things that are more intriguing than Week 17 of the NFL season. It’s all about playoff scenarios. For a number of teams, it’s do or die.

For the Patriots, it’s about securing home field advantage. In recent years, when the road to the Super Bowl has gone through Foxborough, the Patriots have made it there. Road playoff games haven’t exactly been their strong suit. All they have to do to lock it up is beat the Jets at home. Sounds easy, but every time New England plays the Jets, the games are always closer than you’d assume. No matter how crummy they are, the Jets are like a Patriot kryptonite in a way, only it’s not usually fatal. Just more of a nuisance.

So anyway, that’s where the Patriots find themselves in the final week of the season. The quarterback that stands in their way? Bryce Petty. If the Patriots miss out on the No. 1 seed because Bryce Petty beat them at home … well, if that’s the case, then they definitely don’t deserve the No. 1 seed.

But, Pats fans shouldn’t worry about that too much. In a home game in which the Patriots still have something to play for, they’re not going to just fold and embarrass themselves. After all, knowing they still had to keep winning to keep Pittsburgh from surpassing them, Tom Brady and the Patriots took care of business against a respectable Bills team last week that was desperately fighting for their playoff lives, winning 36-17. So are they going to choke at home against a 5-10 Jets team that has nothing left to play for when they have the chance to secure home field? Definitely not. They might only win by five or six points, because as mentioned earlier, the Jets always play them surprisingly closer than they should. But there is no way they are losing.

However, if New York somehow pulls off the miracle and wins at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, there would still be hope. The Patriots would still get home field if the Browns avoid going 0-16 with a win over the Steelers. Wait, the Browns are involved? Nevermind, the Pats have to win on Sunday.

The King’s pick: Patriots 28, Jets 21.

To everyone who has been reading my columns every week, I greatly appreciate it. I’ll be posting my Week 17 picks in the next few days, and then we’ll be ready for the playoffs. Hold on a second, I think that word deserves to be in all caps. We’ll be ready for the PLAYOFFS! Have a great week, everyone.