While the New England Patriots’ divisional round opponent still needs to be determined, we do know that a game will take place at Gillette Stadium in two weeks. The Patriots earned the right to host a postseason contest thanks to a convincing 38-3 home victory against the New York Jets earlier today. And when looking at New England’s 2018 regular season, playing at home will be a big advantage: after all, the team is unbeaten this year in Foxboro.
In fact, the Patriots are the only squad in the NFL to win all eight of its home contests this season. For comparison, New England went just 3-5 away from One Patriot Place — and the home-road-divide does not end there as it can also be witnessed when it comes to scoring: on average, the team scores 32.3 points per game on its home turf while giving up only 16.6. When traveling, the Patriots score a mere 21.6 points and surrender 24.0.
Being able to start into the postseason with a home game is therefore big for a team that has struggled with consistency this season but has mostly looked good at home no matter the opposition: the Patriots went toe-for-toe against one of the NFL’s best offenses in their week six win against the Kansas City Chiefs and played some of their most complete football of the season against the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers.
All in all, four teams fighting for either a playoff spot or for positioning this weekend had to travel to “The Razor” this season — and all four were beaten by New England. A team of that caliber will again make its way to Massachusetts in two weeks and like they did all season long, the Patriots will need to bring their A-game. “We know whoever that team is they’ll be good or they wouldn’t be playing at this time of year,” Bill Belichick said after today’s game.
“We’re going to need to play our best game, all of us — play and coach our best game and that’s what we will all try do,” New England’s head coach continued during his postgame press conference after his team’s dominant win over the Jets. “We’ll try and do the best job we can coaching, do the best job we can playing for whoever it is we play, and we know they will be good. It’s the NFL playoffs, that’s where we are.”
The Patriots have been able to play and coach their best football for stretches this year both at home and on the road. However, the consistency was much more persistent when playing in front of a home crowd — one that is notorious for creating a lukewarm atmosphere when the games do not feature high-quality opposition but also knows how to amp up the atmosphere when prime time games or the playoffs come around.
Securing a home playoff game coming off a bye is naturally a big development for a 2018 Patriots team that needs to continue building on the momentum it created over the past two weeks. Doing it at home is obviously much easier than doing it on the road — and luckily for the team, this is exactly where the next game will be played thanks to its win against the Jets today. And, who knows, maybe it won’t be the last game played at Gillette Stadium this season...
Welcome to the Pats Pulpit Live Postgame show! The Patriots finished the regular season strong and cruised to a win over the Jets today, clinching a first round playoff bye in the process. Send us your questions and comments!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, December 30, 2018