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Patriots playoff rooting guide: Who New England fans should root for on wild card Sunday

Related: ‘The future is bright’ for the Patriots even after their playoff loss to the Bills

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

For the New England Patriots, wild card weekend ended in disappointment. Making their return to the playoffs after a one-year absence, the team was blown out by the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night.

While their season is now over, the rest of the NFL marches on. Today, three more games are scheduled. Who will join the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round? And who should Patriots fans root for even with their team eliminated? Time to find out.

Welcome to our second Patriots Playoff Rooting Guide of the week.

1:00 p.m. ET

(7) Philadelphia Eagles at (2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Go Eagles! Wait, go Eagles?! Okay, hear us out for a second. Tom Brady losing today would be the better outcome for the Patriots. Why? Because they would move up a spot in the first-round draft standings in case the Eagles advance. New England currently holds pick No. 21 but has some potential to improve that position today. The team would at the very least jump to No. 20 in case of a Philadelphia win over Brady and company. | FOX/Paramount+

4:30 p.m. ET

(6) San Francisco 49ers at (3) Dallas Cowboys: Go 49ers! While the all-NFC matchup has no direct ties to the Patriots it does have one to the AFC East. The 49ers, after all, sent their first-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins last year. A San Francisco victory would have a reverse impact of an Eagles victory: Miami’s pick would become worse with it. That would be a win for New England, which is why we are rooting for Jimmy Garoppolo’s team today. | CBS/Paramount+

4:30 p.m. ET

(7) Pittsburgh Steelers at (2) Kansas City Chiefs: Go Steelers! The explanation for this one is basically the same that was applied for the Eagles vs. Buccaneers game. If Pittsburgh can pull off the upset at Arrowhead Stadium, the Patriots’ first-round pick would move up a bit. In case both the Steelers and Eagles win, New England will draft 19th overall. | NBC/Paramount+