You know what, you don’t want to hear if you’re the 4-11 Jets coming off a horrendous blown loss with 17 penalties and a head coach all but fired already?
You don’t want to hear Tom Brady and Bill Belichick call the season finale “already a playoff-game” and a “must-win.”
That is the scenario for this final regular-season game in New England. The Patriots dodged a bullet when the Texans failed to defeat the Eagles and handed the second-seed and a first-round bye right back to New England.
New England faced the prospect of playing in the Wild Card Round after they lost in Week 15. Brady and Belichick have never won a Super Bowl in a year when they were forced to play in the first post-season week.
Thanks to the Eagles’ 32-30 last-minute victory, all the Patriots have to do to clinch a first-round bye and a home game is to defeat the hapless Jets.
Todd Bowles’ troops have rallied around their head coach before, pulling off some big upsets that helped him retain his position despite a losing record.
But even a rout of the Patriots will probably not be enough to save Bowles this year, and the team knows it. They are upset at the officiating in their heartbreaking loss to the Packers last week, but resignation is more likely to affect them than any motivation to send the coach out on a high note.
Injuries and notes:
With the first-round bye on the line, Belichick will not rest Brady or anyone else until the game is in hand, one way or the other.
Just a week after losing Josh Gordon to another drug suspension, New England’s passing game suffered another blow when Cordarelle Patterson went down with a knee injury. Patterson has been a do-it-all player for the Patriots, but his importance was elevated in Gordon’s absence. The team has not posted an update since his questionable designation in last week’s game.
Bowles says Quincy Enunwa has a “slim” chance of playing in the season finale. That chance might improve if Jermaine Kearse’s Achilles injury proves to be as serious as expected.
For much of the season, Bowles’ status seemed certain as management spoke of letting him benefit from an expected free-agency blitz in 2019. Bowles made the most out of flawed rosters over the years, but losing can become a habit and affect culture. As we saw in Cleveland this season, even a more talented group of players can benefit from a change at the top.
Belichick has a few reasons to smile this week. Besides the Texans’ loss that put his team back into the second seed position, Brady announced his intentions to play past the 2019 season. That all but assures Belichick’s continued quest for a perfect season in New England.
How to watch the Patriots-Jets game:
You can watch this game for free by signing up with Sling TV. Like most leading internet TV providers, Sling TV has a standard no-obligation trial period that will let you watch all of this week’s NFL action without paying a dime.
When the games are over, use the rest of your trial week to explore the dozens of other premium movie and entertainment channels included in the low cost of a contract-free monthly subscription to Sling TV.
Sling TV, like DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, and other internet TV providers, offers all the local and national channels you need to follow your favorite NFL team. Plus, your favorite TV shows and specialty channels are included in a standard subscription.
For just a fraction of the cost of cable or satellite, you can use Sling, DirecTV Now, or Fubo to watch the NFL or any other program on your favorite internet device anywhere you have a signal.
Check out their websites today for more information.
Who will win the Patriots-Jets game?
There is always a chance this rivalry will produce an inspired Jets effort that turns this into a nail-biter. But the Patriots are as determined as they are relieved to hold onto their first-round bye. Pride will only get the Jets so far in this one.F