With the New England Patriots playing an early game against the New York Jets, their fans can sit back and relax during the late slate of games. There are six on the menu today, so let’s quickly go through the contests to find out who will face off today, and who Patriots fans should be rooting for.
4:05 pm ET
Go injury-free game! Neither the Panthers nor the Cardinals are on New England’s schedule this year or tied to the club in any other meaningful way. Feel free to root for whoever you want, especially considering that there are ex-Patriots on both sides.
Go Giants! Yes, it doesn’t feel good to say this but Patriots fans should root for New York’s team today (at least in this game). Why? The Giants are on New England’s schedule this year, and a win in this game would make for a better strength of schedule and potentially strength of victory — two tiebreakers in the race for the AFC’s playoff seeds.
4:25 pm ET
Go Texans! This is the same reason as listed at the Giants versus Buccaneers game: the Patriots will play the Texans later today, and a win would improve New England’s strength-tiebreaker standings.
Go Saints! The game has little implication on the Patriots’ playoff aspirations, but the club is still somewhat tied to it: Seattle sent a seventh-round draft pick next year to New England in exchange for tight end Jacob Hollister. The worse the Seahawks’ record is, the better the pick becomes.
Go Steelers! The Patriots have already beaten Pittsburgh earlier this season, and the team winning today would help New England’s strength of schedule and strength of victory. Given the state of the Steelers’ quarterback position, however, such a victory appears to be unlikely.
8:20 pm ET
Go Browns! The Patriots will play Cleveland later this season, and a Browns victory should help with strength of schedule. While the team could become a competitor when it comes to playoff seeding, as of right now it is still behind New England in the standings.