The New England Patriots finished the 2016 regular season with a 14-2 record for an NFL record fifth time in team history. The team also earned the highest seed in the AFC playoff field for the sixth time (2016, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003), the most in the NFL since the current playoff formula was established in 1990. The Patriots will host a Divisional Playoff game against Houston on Sat., Jan. 14 at 8:15 p.m. This season marks the seventh straight year that the Patriots will host a Divisional game, adding to their NFL record. Miami hosted five straight from 1981 through 1985.
His Nfl post season has a remarkable habit of stunning unsuspecting fans with enthralling tales of underdog heroes. A single-game elimination system sets the table for dramatic twists and turns more commonplace for a Hollywood thriller. Sometimes the football gods grease the wheels for an upset with a fumble or remarkable Hail Mary loaded with the power to defy the odds and rewrite history.
This will not be one of those times.
Although the tight-lipped New England Patriots would never say it aloud, they will essentially receive their second straight bye when hosting the Houston Texans. Very other team standing wields a regular-season scoring margin above plus-40. The Texans, however, survived despite a minus-49 differential. They ended the season ranked No. 29, behind the San Francisco 49ers, in Footbal Outsiders’ defensive-adjusted value over average (DVOA). The seven other remaining squads, led by the top-ranked Patriots, placed inside the top 10.
Saturday night’s AFC divisional-round matchup between the Patriots and Texans is poised to follow wild card of the home team winning big.
BRADY VS. HOUSTON
Tom Brady is slated to start against the Houston for the second time in the post season. He is 5-1 against Houston in the regular season and 1-0 in the post season.
BILL BELICHICK DIVISIONAL ROUND RECORD
Bill Belichick will coach in his 14th Divisional Playoff Game and will tie Don Shula for the most Divisional Playoff Games in NFL history. This week’s game will be Belichick’s 13th Divisional Playoff game with New England.
PATRIOTS IN THE PLAYOFFS
The Patriots have qualified for the playoffs 24 times in their 57-year history. Eighteen of those playoff berths has come in the 23 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. The Patriots have won 19 division crowns, including 14 in the last 16 seasons, and have qualified as a Wild Card team four times (1976, 1985, 1994 and 1998). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 during the strike season.