Let’s look at how the Patriots match up against the other playoff teams in the AFC.
Beat them in Buffalo this year and almost beat them last year with Cam as QB. Orchard Park conditions suit the Patriots way more than the pass happy Bills. If the game was in Foxboro the Patriots would be at a major disadvantage as the Bills can beat them with their passing attack, but the Bills pretty much won the division so the Patriots will be the road team if they are to face Buffalo.
Crushed them a few weeks ago. Even with Julio Jones and Derrick Henry back, the Patriots should still be able to win as they have one of the best defences in the league. Patriots can stack the box on Henry and force Ryan Tannehill to beat them with his arm, and I don’t think he’s capable of doing that.
Kansas City Chiefs
Patriots always play them tough and in fact could’ve won in Arrowhead last year if Cam Newton wasn’t out with COVID.
Patrick Mahomes has struggled against Bill Belichick in the past. A much better ground and pass game this year combined with the fact that the Chiefs aren’t as good as last season should give the Patriots a good chance to win.
QBs facing Belicheck for the first time always struggle. Joe Burrow has not yet faced the Patriots in his career. Plus, the Bengals haven’t won a playoff game in forever.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Patriots beat them earlier this year and shut them out last year. Justin Herbert struggled against Belichick both times. Also, Herbert is not used to playing in freezing cold weather so if Patriots host the Chargers for a playoff game that should be a big advantage for New England.
Las Vegas Raiders
Don’t think they’ll make the playoffs, but they have never fared well against Belichick, and there’s no reason to think they will this time around as they’ve had a lacklustre end to the season.
The only team that scares me is the Colts. Frank Reich is 2-0 against Belichick, and after a slow start, they have been one of the best teams in the league. Also, Colts have one of the most underrated defences in the league and the Patriots can’t rely on their run game to beat them, meaning Mac Jones is going to have to throw the ball a lot.
Plus, the Indianapolis offence is perfectly suited to beat the Patriots’ defence. The Patriots have to pick their poison – either stop Jonathan Taylor, or the Colts’ passing attack.
Carson Wentz is more than capable of beating the Patriots with his arm. If the Patriots play the Colts at home, they should have a chance to win due to the weather factor, but going on the road and beating the Colts will be a very tough ask.
So, as long as the Patriots can avoid playing Indianapolis, they should have a good chance to make Super Bowl LVI.