clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Patriots rooting guide: Who New England fans should root for in Week 18

Related: NFL playoff picture: Evaluating the Patriots’ seeding scenarios ahead of Week 18

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s 2022 regular season will come to an end today. The New England Patriots will visit the Miami Dolphins, trying to improve to 11-6 on the year and earning at least the fifth playoff seed in the AFC. They do have potential for more than that, though, but would need the other games to work out in their favor as well.

What are those games? And who should and their Patriots and their fans cheer for? Let’s find out. Welcome to our Patriots Rooting Guide.

1 p.m. ET

Pittsburgh Steelers (8-7-1) at Baltimore Ravens (8-8): Go Ravens! Baltimore is still alive in the playoff race and there is a scenario in which they make the postseason as the final wild card team in the AFC. If all goes according to plan, they might have to visit Gillette Stadium next week. | CBS

Cincinnati Bengals (10-6) at Cleveland Browns (7-9): Go Browns! A Cleveland win would ensure the Patriots cannot get the fourth seed in case they tie the Dolphins. That is really the only reason to have a rooting interest in this one. | FOX

Green Bay Packers (13-3) at Detroit Lions (2-13-1): Go Packers! The Lions earning the first overall draft pick over a team in the AFC would probably be the best-case outcome for New England. | FOX

Tennessee Titans (11-5) at Houston Texans (4-12): Go Texans! If the Patriots want to earn the No. 2 playoff seed in the AFC behind the Kansas City Chiefs, a Houston win over Tennessee is paramount. | CBS

Indianapolis Colts (9-7) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-14): Go Jaguars! Jacksonville beating Indianapolis would not just keep the Colts behind the Patriots regardless of their performance in Miami, it might also keep the Jaguars from “earning” the number one overall draft pick. | CBS

Chicago Bears (6-10) at Minnesota Vikings (7-9): Go good game! There is really no reason to root for any team here. | FOX

Washington Football Team (6-10) at New York Giants (4-12): Go Football Team! A Washington win would have one positive effect; the Giants would leapfrog both the Texans and Jets in the first-round draft order. | FOX

4:25 p.m. ET

Seattle Seahawks (6-10) at Arizona Cardinals (11-5): Go Seahawks! The Jets own Seattle’s first-round pick next year as a result of the Jamal Adams trade. The better the Seahawks’ final record, the worse the position of the pick. | FOX

New Orleans Saints (8-8) at Atlanta Falcons (7-9): Go good game! Same scenario as in the Bears-Vikings game. | FOX

New York Jets (4-12) at Buffalo Bills (10-6): Go Jets! This is the big one from New England’s perspective. A Jets win over the Bills would open the door for the Patriots to take the AFC East title and earn one of the top-four playoff seeds in the conference, thus hosting a postseason game next week. | CBS

San Francisco 49ers (9-7) at Los Angeles Rams (12-4): Go 49ers! A San Francisco win would qualify them for the playoffs, thus making sure the Day 1 pick that was traded to Miami would land relatively late in the first-round. | FOX

Carolina Panthers (5-11) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4): Go Buccaneers! Rooting for Tom Brady is the way to go here. There is literally no other reason. | CBS

8:20 p.m. ET

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) at Las Vegas Raiders (9-7): Go Chargers! Los Angeles loses the head-to-head tiebreaker against New England, so there is no harm in the team finishing the season 10-7. | NBC