Following their latest win against the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots are now in the position to take the top spot of the AFC division. And, given their upcoming schedule, it seems the Patriots will be able to easily clinch the playoff spot.
The New England franchise are now enjoying a record of 11-2, which puts them a full point ahead over the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Although they were not able to secure the playoff spot on Monday due to the Miami Dolphins' win over the Arizona Cardinals, the Patriots are still in a favorable spot to take the division, CBS Sports reported.
The team now only has three games left in its regular season. From Week 15 to 17, the Patriots are scheduled to take on the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. Out of all these three, the Dolphins are the only ones that can be considered as a real threat to the Patriots.
The Jets and the Broncos, on the other hand, have performed rather poorly this year and are now far from reaching the playoffs. As both teams have shown in their previous games, inconsistencies continue to affect their offensive plays.
The Patriots can easily capitalize on these mistakes to make their road to clinching a berth much easier. As noted by New England safety Devin McCourty, December already feels like a playoff season for them due to what's at stake in each game.
"We just gotta keep it rolling," he said according to the New York Times. "That's whether you want to call it a playoff game, must-win, or any of that stuff."
"Once you get into December and toward the end of December, every game is important," he added. "There's really no rebounding and trying to fix things. You want to try and play your best ball every time you go there and play."
As for the Dolphins, they can be considered as a dangerous opponent for the Patriots especially since they're still in the running for the playoffs. They're also coming from a huge win over the Cardinals, which is a huge confidence booster for the team.
However, one problem that could derail the Dolphins' playoff chances is quarterback Ryan Tannehill's injury. Since he will most likely miss the remainder of the season, the Dolphins will probably face off against the Patriots with Matt Moore leading the offense. In the wake of Tannehil's injury, the Dolphins also signed T.J. Yates to serve as Moore's backup, Fox Sports reported.