4 ways for the Patriots to reach the playoffs after Miami’s latest loss


The Patriots, who take the field against the Dolphins in the 18th week, will find it difficult to beat the Bengals or the Bills on Wildcard Weekend.

Tua Tagovailoa escaped pressure from Christian Barmore and Jojuan Williams for a clutch first-down run. (Photo by Michael Reeves/Getty Images)

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Thank God the Patriots didn’t play anything meaningful to the Dolphins on the line this week. Because for whatever reason, Hard Rock Stadium brings out the worst in Bill Belichick’s crew.

New England’s latest road defeat to the Dolphins extended their winless streak in Miami to five years, with former Patriots coach Brian Flores and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa also earning their first season sweep of New England in more than 20 years.

But beyond that, the Patriots failed to take advantage of a crucial opportunity ahead of the wild-card round next week. It’s not a reference to seeding: even if they did win, they didn’t go past the fifth seed because of victories by Buffalo, Kansas City and Tennessee this weekend.

Their sloppy game gave them the opportunity to start the playoffs with some momentum, raising questions about how they would perform on the road against the Bengals or the Bills in their playoff opener.

Patriots ‘complementary football’ nowhere to be found.

The seven-match winning streak now seems like forever.

Since the generation-by-generation victory over Buffalo, the Patriots have closed the season 1–3 with their only win being a 3–14 against the Jaguars.

In those defeats, the Colts, Bills and Dolphins have attacked New England mistakes and fielded clutch plays against a resilient but impressive Patriots defense.

Mack Jones’ tendency to zero in on Jacobi Meyers in third-down positions is common sense as evidenced by Dolphins cornerback Xavian Howard freelancing a bit on his cover 2 zone assignment to jump Jones’ first pass attempt and return it for a touchdown. Certified by.

The rookie took advantage of a few deep holes down the field to complete 25-plus-yard perfection by Meyers (twice) and Hunter Henry, who showed a fine combination of aggression and accuracy. But he doesn’t look like the kind of guy who can lead a team to a playoff win at the moment.

The Patriots conceded eight penalties for 78 yards and gifted four additional first downs to Miami. One of them, a special team flag on Lawrence Guy for illegally covering a long snapper on a Miami punt, could cost New England three Dolphins points.

But a lack of discipline on New England’s defense has spoiled him like anything. He repeatedly allowed the Dolphins to run past Duke Johnson and Tua Tagovailoa, who didn’t throw the football well, braked with clutch scrambles on Miami’s last two drives.

Long story short: The Patriots didn’t look like a playoff team in Week 18, and unfortunately that’s what has happened in three of their last four games. If they intend to win the playoff game, they have a lot to do before next week. At the moment, it is difficult to see this happening.

Injuries happen at the worst possible times.

Things were already not looking great when Donta Hightower (knee) and Kyle Duggar (arm) missed Sunday’s action. His absence may have been for maintenance purposes only, but he is especially unlucky given the Patriots’ struggles against Miami’s ground game.

As the game progressed, the situation got worse.

Starting a left tackle, Isaiah Wynn left the game with an ankle injury, forcing Justin Heron into the game.

Damien Harris and Ramondre Stevenson were also hit and missed snaps during the game, although both ended the contest. Luckily, Brandon Bolden had his best game of the season picking up the slack for him.

Perhaps most upsetting was the fact that Christian Barmore suffered a leg injury as he tried to stop the melee that broke Tua Tagovailoa’s back late in the fourth quarter. He reportedly couldn’t put weight on the leg and looks like he’s in danger of missing out on the playoffs, According to ESPN’s Mike Rees.

In addition to winning the game, New England’s No. 1 goal was to enter the playoffs as many times as possible. It certainly didn’t happen on Sunday.

Matthew Judon has fallen.

Coming out of the Patriots’ goodbye week, Judon was right there, with Jesse Jackson as the Patriots’ most influential defensive player.

Since then, he’s been a troublemaker normal.

The Star Age defender had registered only two pressures since going into the season finale since that week’s 13 game at Buffalo and didn’t do much to get out of that slump against Miami.

On top of that, Judon came into the limelight twice for the wrong reasons, gifting the Dolphins down first with a late hit on Tua Tagovailoa and then being the last man on the line of scrimmage, Johnson scored a 27-for off-tackle. Did. Yard run on Miami snap in the first half of the second half.

The Patriots pulled a frustrated Judon off the field after both plays. Maybe it’s okay in the end because it saved the dynamic pass-rusher from potential injury. But the fact that one of New England’s best players has clearly done more harm than good in the game isn’t a good omen.

The Patriots should be hoping for the Bengals next week.

On the one hand, things could get a lot worse for the Patriots. The Colts’ surprise defeat at the hands of the Jaguars ensured that New England did not have to play Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Round 1. It can almost be a fixed ticket home.

However, neither the Bengals nor the Bills will be a pushover.

Cincinnati boasts the fifth-place scoring offense in football and one of the most feared skill groups in the league, with potential Rookie of the Year Ja’Mar Chase, Ty Higgins and Tyler Boyd on receivers, Joe Mixon running back and a surging. which are included. Bill hitting the rock.

And the bill? The Patriots may have known just about everything there was to know about their division rivals, but that didn’t stop Buffalo from beating New England well at home when the teams weren’t playing in the snow globe. When it came down to it, it was great to include Josh Allen.

Could Belichick’s crew have an advantage against the Bengals? They are young. Burrow is just another year old, and the shrewd Patriots coach’s defense often creates problems for even the most talented passers-by early in his career. As much star power as the Bengals boast aggressively, they may be able to frustrate Burrow in a few mistakes.

Those odds seem better than trying to go up against the back-to-back AFC East champion Bills, who have now won three of the last four meetings between the two teams. If it happens in the end Patriots vs. Bills III, Belichick had better put on his wizard hat and summon the biggest storm he could muster. This may be New England’s only shot at victory.