The New England Patriots earned a first round bye every season from 2010-18, and they have a chance to secure their 10th-straight bye week if they can defeat the once-hapless Miami Dolphins in week 17. First round byes are incredible valuable because they reduce the amount of games a team has to play in the postseason, where the opponents are all the top teams in the league. In a game with a lot of luck and variance, fewer games make it easier to reach the Super Bowl.
And the Patriots’ regular season success has set the team up for playoff success over the past decade, with a preposterous eight straight trips to the AFC Championship Game (2011-18), a ludicrous five trips to the Super Bowl thus far (2011, 2014, 2016-18) and three Super Bowl victories (2014, 2016, 2018).
All that stands in the way of the Patriots and another bye week is a Dolphins team that once challenged for the title of “worst team in NFL history”, but now is...fine? Miami is 4-4 over their past eight games, and while the defense is still terrible, the offense varies from “awful” to “good enough” with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm.
Can Fitzpatrick bring enough Fitzmagic to the table to ruin the Patriots’ holiday week? Or will Fitztragic make an appearance and allow the Patriots to have some much needed rest before the playoffs start?
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