The New England Patriots will not play this week, as the 8-1 team is currently enjoying its bye. The rest of the football world keeps spinning, however, which also means that today’s slate of games games will be a stressless affair for the team and its fans. All in all, there are 11 games on the menu, so let’s quickly go through the contests to find out who will face off today, and who Patriots fans should be rooting for.
1:00 pm ET
Go Lions! Detroit has numerous ex-Patriots on their payroll — from head coach Matt Patricia to general manager Bob Quinn to players such as Trey Flowers and Danny Amendola — but the reason to root for the team is another one: New England owns the Bears’ fourth-round draft pick next year, and the more losses the team suffers the better for the Patriots.
Go Bengals! While winless Cincinnati enters Week 10 as huge underdogs, the Patriots and their fans have to root for the team nevertheless: Baltimore, after all, is the number one competitor for the number one playoff seed in the AFC after beating New England one week ago.
Go Browns! Nine weeks into the season, the Bills are still in the race for the AFC East title and only 1.5 games behind New England. A Browns win — as unlikely as it appears to be — would help create more wiggle room for a Patriots team trying to win its 11th straight division title.
Go Saints! The reason behind rooting for New Orleans is the same as it is for Lions-Bears game: draft positioning. The Patriots, after all, own the Falcons’ seventh-round pick next year and would therefore benefit from a Saints victory.
Go nobody! Two New York teams going against each other with virtually nothing on the line. Rooting for the Jets would be preferred from a draft positioning perspective, but a scoreless tie might actually be the result this game deserves and one that Patriots fans should root for.
Go good game! With neither the Cardinals nor the Buccaneers having much of an impact on the AFC’s playoff race, New England fans can just root for a good game without injuries.
Go Titans! The Chiefs, who get quarterback Patrick Mahomes back from his knee injury today, are one of the AFC’s top teams. Rooting for Tennessee is therefore an easy decision here: the more distance between Kansas City and New England in the AFC’s playoff race, the better the latter’s chances at earning a first-round bye.
4:05 pm ET
Go Dolphins! Straight off its first win of the season, Patriots fans should root for Brian Flores’ team again to win today — for two reasons. Another Dolphins win would a) further hurt their chances to get the first overall draft pick next year, and b) create some more separation between Nee England and Indianapolis in the playoff picture.
4:25 pm ET
Go good game! Neither the Panthers nor the Packers have much of an impact on the AFC’s playoff picture, so Patriots fans can sit back and just enjoy what will hopefully be an entertaining game.
Go Steelers! A Pittsburgh victory would improve the Patriots’ strength of schedule and strength of victory, and also possibly hurt the Dolphins who own the Steelers’ first-round draft pick next year.
8:15 pm ET
Go Cowboys! With Dallas being on New England’s schedule, a victory by the team against the Vikings would improve the Patriots’ strength of schedule and possibly strength of victory — two tiebreakers that might be needed when it comes to playoff seeding against a team like the Colts.