Finishing the regular season with an 8-9 record, the New England Patriots failed to qualify for the NFL playoffs. That does not mean that there is nothing to root for in the tournament, though.
After all 14 non-Patriots teams are left standing. With no clear cut club to cheer on over the coming weeks, the latest SB Nation Reacts survey asked fans about who their “replacement teams” would be, in a way.
On the AFC side, the Cincinnati Bengals were able to get the most votes. 48 percent of participants opted to pick Joe Burrow and company. While the reason behind this choice will differ from fan to fan, one possible explanation is Cincinnati having former New England offensive lineman Ted Karras at the center position.
As for the NFC, one would expect Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to take the top spot. However, they finished with only 33 percent — trailing the San Francisco 49ers (41%). The team’s resiliency to make it this far despite being led by the final selection of the 2022 draft at quarterback, Brock Purdy, is likely a main factor for that pick.
What does stand out when looking at the results is that the Buffalo Bills received 23 percent of the vote in the AFC despite being a Patriots division rival. There is no denying, however, that them winning it all would be a good story in light of Damar Hamlin’s in-game collapse just two weeks ago.
We also asked the Pats Pulpit community for its take on the rooting question. Here are some of the answers we got:
Bills must win the Super Bowl so that their 1-Year Dynasty can be over with quickly and take them down via coach poaching as well as player poaching on top of Fat Cat Dynasty Syndrome. All this while the Patriots are down, not hopefully making a run for the chrome next season.
Reference (a): Chiefs Dynasty Enters Its Fourth Year
49ers over Cincy
Bengals and Bucs
Burrow and Brady
My favorite QBs
49ners and cincy in superbowl
Honestly it would’ve been the Lions of they made it but now I’m rooting for Tom
TB & SF.
No brainer for me. Tom Brady, first and foremost. And for the record, I only root for Tom Brady not the Bucs lol can’t put up with Leftwich and Bowles nonsense.
If his team is out, then Bengals. Joe Burrows is a gent and a great QB. They were getting shafted by the league with this whole playoff implication nonsense. Their team and fanbase are pretty solid. I pulled for them when they played the Rams last year.
Jags and Seahawks. Jags are London’s team and the Mrs likes The Seahawks and her bobble hat.
Bengals or Bucs …honestly anyone but the Chiefs or Bills
I go 49ers over the Jags. The Jags because it’s a Cinderella story and the 49ers so TB12 doesn’t go there. Got to figure that’s his most likely next stop unless they just won it all.
The two teams I want to see?....AFC Bengals NFC 49ers
These 2 teams played two very good Super Bowls vs each other in 80’s by the way..close wins by 49ers vs two very good Cincinnati teams....problem for Bengals then? 49ers had Joe Montana..that was difference.
Bengals-49ers would be good game..Burrow is elite....Purdy has been unreal...this kid can ball.
Probably, SF, Jax (in-laws live there) and Cincy.
MD Pats Fan:
Rooting for Brady. Everyone else can go to hell.
Not sure why Pats fans would NOT root for Brady.
Bengals, Vikings or Niners.
Would be cool to see a team like the Chargers or Jags make a deep run too
As long as it’s not PHI, KC or NYG I’m happy. Now I know this might shock people but I don’t really hate BUF as much as others even though they are a division rival. That said I’d still prefer it not be BUF either, BUT if BUF did win it all I wouldn’t be as upset tbh as those other 3
I’m rooting for the Chiefs because my girlfriends entire family is Cheifs fans and I’m going to the games. I want the Bengals to do extremely well offensively because Geaux Tigers.
I want to see Tampa Bay and Miami in the Finals.
Of course, I want Brady to beat Miami.
I’m rooting against KC the most.
KC & SF or Brady
I am actively rooting against the Chiefs and the “Mahomes is the GOAT” and “We are a dynasty” dopes. I was kicked off of Arrowhead Pride for for typing Brady outplayed Mahomes in the Super Bowl. I would love it if an underdog won.
I’ll always root for Brady, but how amazing would it be if the first rookie QB to ever win a Super Bowl is a Mr. Irrelevant pick.
I root for them to all lose and get some horrible rash
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.