I have a feeling that New England’s recent loss to the Chiefs is sitting like a lump of undigested Thanksgiving turkey in the stomachs of a lot of Patriots fans. Some atrocious calls and a clear touchdown taken off the board didn’t help matters as the Patriots dropped to 10-3 on the season and suffered their first home loss since 2017.
So maybe these five positives that I’m taking away from the game isn’t going to completely get the taste out of your mouths...but it certainly isn’t going to hurt any.
This game didn’t really matter. If the Patriots had won this game, they would have been 11-2 and in control of their own destiny for the Two Seed. With the loss, they’re 10-3 and in control of their own destiny for the Two Seed. So they’re in exactly the same spot they were in before kickoff. Tough to get too upset when the game doesn’t really factor into playoff seeding.
Getting healthier. Each week, we’re seeing more and more guys back from injury. Players who are playing hobbled are getting healthier each and every week. If this team can see their skill players at as close to 100% as you can get and the guys who have been missing time back on the field in time for the playoffs, New England has a great chance to make a deep run.
Um...refs? I’m not blaming the officiating for Sunday’s loss. The Patriots lost the game, the Chiefs won the game, full stop. But there were some absolutely ATROCIOUS calls from the officials on Sunday that screwed KC out of continuing drives, directly took New England points off the board in a game that ended being decided by a few plays. To some, poor officiating makes a loss that much worse - but again, the Patriots didn’t directly lose this game on a bad call the way the Saints did in the NFC Championship Game last season. So this game kind of becomes one of those contests that makes you wonder what could have been.
Easy finish to schedule. The Patriots finish the year at Cincinnatti, then home against Buffalo and the Dolphins. The Bengals are the worst team in football, the Bills (although as legit an AFC team as there is) never beat the Patriots at Gillette, and the Dolphins have been out of it since about Week 2 or so. There’s no reason to think that the Patriots won’t finish 13-3, which is more than enough to secure the two seed.
Back to 1PM games. I hate primetime games, and I think I hate the 4:25PM games even more. The NFL unfortunately had the nerve to flex Pats/Bills into the afternoon slot on Saturday the 21st, but two out of the last three are the start I like best. I couldn’t be happier that Patriots football will be over by 4:15 or so every Sunday from here on out.
Super Bowl Champs! The passion is always great, and the desire to win should never fade. But come on now...six rings! This whole season is a freebie, and pretty much everything since 2016 has been gravy anyway. I’m enjoying this ride completely, wins and losses, bad calls and good calls, touchdowns and field goals. Tommy B isn’t going to be taking too many more snaps for the Patriots, and the amount of joy he has brought me, and the championship pedigree he has instilled in this team, leave me able to just sit back and enjoy the ride from here on out. I hope you all feel the same way.