The Patriots just told us they aren’t dead yet

Julian Edelman, New England Patriots. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
Julian Edelman, New England Patriots. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

You can’t get rid of them, you can only hope to contain them. The New England Patriots refuse to let their dynasty die, as they win another division title.

In the signature game of the Saturday slate, the New England Patriots do what they always seem to do by asserting their dominance over a division rival en route to another AFC East crown. New England was able to put a strong playoff team like the Buffalo Bills to bed on Saturday evening in Foxborough. New England improves to 12-3, while Buffalo stumbles to 10-5 on the year.

With a win over the Miami Dolphins in Week 17, the Patriots will yet again have a first-round bye in the AFC playoff picture. They would likely need that to avoid losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with the AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs. No, it hasn’t been pretty this season in Foxborough, but the Patriots have found a way to keep their Super Bowl LIV aspirations alive.

In the entire Bill Belichick era in Foxborough, New England has never reached the Super Bowl when it wasn’t a top-two seed in the AFC. Not having to play on Wild Card Weekend is the best recipe for success for the Patriots to hoist Lombardi Trophies. Though they were very much challenged by Buffalo this season, for now, New England is the 11-time reigning division champs.

So how is a team largely thought of being at a talent deficiency able to stay in the NFL’s upper crust? It’s pretty simple really. The Patriots out-execute the opposition more often than not when it counts. They have an outstanding defense and rarely make mistakes on special teams. While the offense isn’t the least bit special, it played one of its better games vs. the Bills on Saturday.

Tom Brady completed 26-of-33 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown. Sony Michel led the way on the ground with 21 carries for 96 yards. Rex Burkhead had a six-yard touchdown run and led the receiving game with four catches for 77 yards. Julian Edelman also had five catches for 72 yards. There was nothing flashy about this victory, but it was a sign of how dangerous this team is.

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New England proved on Saturday evening it can do enough offensively to beat an excellent defensive-minded team like the Bills in a high-stakes situation. In short, the Patriots just gave us the template for how they’re going to have to win in January. Winning a shootout isn’t in the cards for them, but we have to say they’re a major contender for the Super Bowl. They’re not dead yet.