The New England Patriots will not enter week three until 8:20 p.m. ET when their primetime matchup against the Detroit Lions is kicked off. However, the day’s early games also have an impact on the team and need to be watched closely. Let’s take a look at them and what New England fans should root for.
New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Atlanta Falcons (1-1): The NFC South matchup has minimal impact on the Patriots – especially because the draft pick the team received from Atlanta for safety Jordan Richards will not come into play until next season. So: go whatever team you’d rather see win!
Denver Broncos (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (1-1): The Broncos and Ravens have both started their 2018 seasons well and could ultimately become relevant when it comes to playoff seeding. However, this is still a long way down the road and with neither team on the Patriots’ schedule or having any other ties to the team it’s a close call so let’s just say go Ravens just for the Broncos have a loss on their record!
Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-1): Bengals at Panthers is similar to the first two games we have looked at: it has minimal impact on the Patriots. In that case, rooting for the NFC team over the one in New England’s conference always is a smart decision. Go Panthers!
New York Giants (0-2) at Houston Texans (0-2): New England has already played the Texans this season, which means that the team’s strength of schedule and victory will be impacted by the Texans’ performance this season. This could become important when it comes to playoff seeding. Go Texans!
Tennessee Titans (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0): The Jaguars have just beaten the Patriots in week two, and have an advantage over them when it comes to eventual playoff seeding. Consequently, former New England linebacker Mike Vrabel and his Titans should be rooted for today. Go Titans!
San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0): The Chiefs are one of the best teams in the AFC right now and appear to be a legitimate contender when it comes to postseason contention later during the year. This speaks for the 49ers as a rooting interest from New England’s perspective. However, rooting for Kansas City also would work considering that the team has an impact on the Patriots’ strength of schedule. So... go tie?
Oakland Raiders (0-2) at Miami Dolphins (2-0): Miami currently leads the AFC East with a perfect 2-0 record, so rooting for the Raiders seems to be a good decision. However, the Dolphins influence the Patriots’ strength of schedule. So go Raiders! But a Dolphins win would not be the worst thing in the world.
Buffalo Bills (0-2) at Minnesota Vikings (1-0-1): Just like Bengals against Panthers, the NFC team winning is the preferred outcome for the Patriots – especially when it comes against an AFC East team. The team’s strength of schedule will also not be impacted considering that New England will play both teams this season. Go Vikings!
Indianapolis Colts (1-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1): With New England playing Indianapolis in week four, the strength of schedule again comes into play in this matchup. As much as it may hurt Patriots fans, rooting for the Colts is the way to go. Go Colts!
Green Bay Packers (1-0-1) at Washington Redskins (1-1): Another rooting interest influenced by the Patriots’ strength of schedule outlook. New England will host the Packers in week nine and should therefore root for the team today. Go Packers!
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