Patriots

AFC Playoff Picture: Why Patriots may actually want the No. 2 seed

AFC Playoff Picture: Why Patriots may actually want the No. 2 seed

If you're here, you probably know the Los Angeles Chargers' wild win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night benefited the New England Patriots.

A quick glance at the AFC standings as of Friday explains why: If the 9-4 Patriots win out, they still have a chance to earn the No. 1 seed if the 11-3 Chiefs and 11-3 Chargers each lose one more game.

*1. Chiefs 11-3
2. Patriots 9-4
3. Texans 9-4
4. Steelers 7-5-1
*5. Chargers 11-3
6. Ravens 7-6
*Clinched postseason berth

With us so far? Good.

But what if we told you New England actually might prefer the No. 2 seed?

That's right: There are two scenarios in which the Patriots have an "easier" path to the Super Bowl if they enter the playoffs as the No. 2 seed.

Let's break them down. 

Scenario #1: Chargers as No. 1 seed

Final AFC Standings: No. 1 Chargers, No. 2 Patriots, No. 3 Texans, No. 4 Steelers, No. 5 Chiefs, No. 6 Ravens

Wild Card Round: No. 3 Texans vs. No. 6 Ravens, No. 4 Steelers vs. No. 5 Chiefs

Divisional Round: Chargers vs. Chiefs, Patriots vs. Texans

AFC Championship Game: Patriots at Chargers OR Patriots vs. Chiefs

If the Kansas City loses in Seattle next Sunday night and the Chargers knock off the Ravens and Broncos in Weeks 16 and 17, L.A. gets the No. 1 seed.

In that scenario, the Chiefs would drop to No. 5. They'd likely still be favored in their road Wild Card matchup, however, and a win there would set up a rematch with the Chargers. (The No. 1 seed plays the lowest remaining seed in the Divisional Round.)

If the Texans beat the No. 6 seed and lose in New England in the Divisional Round, the AFC Championship Game would be either a Patriots home contest against the lower-seeded Chiefs or a road tilt against the Chargers -- who play in a 27,000-seat soccer stadium.

That's not exactly Arrowhead Stadium.

Furthermore, if the Los Angeles Rams advance to the NFC Championship Game, the city of L.A. could host two Championship Games on the same day -- and we'd imagine most folks would head to the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

Seems like a winnable scenario for the Patriots, no?

Scenario #2: Chiefs as No. 1 seed

Final AFC Standings: No. 1 Chiefs, No. 2 Patriots, No. 3 Texans, No. 4 Steelers, No. 5 Chargers, No. 6 Ravens

Wild Card Round: No. 3 Texans vs. No. 6 Ravens, No. 4 Steelers vs. No. 5 Chargers

Divisional Round: Chiefs vs. Chargers, Patriots vs. Texans

AFC Championship Game: Patriots at Chiefs OR Patriots vs. Chargers

If Kansas City wins out, it gets the No. 1 seed. That's the most likely regular-season scenario.

But that also ensures the Patriots (assuming they hold onto the No. 2 seed) don't have to face the Chiefs or Chargers until the Championship Game.

Yes, a trip to Kansas City for the AFC title game is the worst possible scenario for New England. But if the Chargers can upset the Chiefs on the road -- which they literally just did Thursday night -- the Patriots get another Championship Game at home if they win the Divisional Round.

Of course, if New England somehow earns the No. 1 seed, it's guaranteed home-field advantage. However -- that also sets up a likely Divisional Round matchup against K.C. or L.A.

Quickly, here's how things could play out with the Patriots as the No. 1 seed:

Scenario #3: Patriots as No. 1 seed

Final AFC Standings: No. 1 Patriots, No. 2 Chiefs, No. 3 Texans, No. 4 Steelers, No. 5 Chargers, No. 6 Ravens

Wild Card Round: No. 3 Texans vs. No. 6 Ravens, No. 4 Steelers vs. No. 5 Chargers

Divisional Round: Patriots vs. Chargers, Chiefs vs. Texans

AFC Championship Game: Patriots vs. Chiefs OR Patriots vs. Texans

Again, the loser of the AFC West (Chargers or Chiefs) likely still would be favored in their Wild Card matchup, and if they win, they'd play the No. 1 Patriots in the Divisional Round as the lowest remaining seed (assuming Houston beats the No. 6 seed).

Yes, it's a home game, but you could argue scenarios No. 1 and No. 2 present New England's best (and safest) road to Super Bowl LIII. 

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Odell Beckham Jr. cites Tom Brady as example of racial double standard

Odell Beckham Jr. cites Tom Brady as example of racial double standard

Odell Beckham Jr. and Tom Brady are two of the NFL's most competitive players, but Beckham sees a double standard in how that competitiveness is perceived.

In an interview with GQ Magazine, Beckham used Brady as an example of what he believes is a racial double standard in the sport. The Browns wide receiver points out while he often faces criticism for wearing his emotions on his sleeve, Brady is praised for doing the same thing.

“Race plays into everything, whether we want to believe it or not," Beckham told GQ. "I remember posting a video of me and Tom Brady, and I hate to even bring him in this, but he’s passionate. He cares—he wouldn’t still be playing if he didn’t care for the game the way that he did today. He throws a cup, he yells at referees, he yells at his coach. It’s because he cares that bad. He wants to win that bad. Now, because he has won six Super Bowls they validate him and say, 'He’s won six Super Bowls.' I want to win the same way he wants to win. Whether I hit a kicking net or whether I do whatever. I want to win that bad. I care about winning more than anything. I didn’t get into this to celebrate and score touchdowns. I didn’t get into this for followers for Instagram. It’s, like, you’ve built a monster, but now you’re upset at the one you built. Why are you mad at me? While I’m playing football, I’m not holding a camera on myself. Everything is about what you show the world. I get my free time 16 times a year, hopefully, plus a few games when we make the playoffs. I get 16 times to do this. There are 365 days in a year. You’re controlling my freedom. This is my joy, this is my time.”

Beckham doesn't hold back when asked about the racial double standard, nor has he held back discussing his rocky tenure with the Giants. The 26-year-old also mentioned in the GQ interview he mulled retirement during his time with New York.

Now with Cleveland, Beckham has a clean slate and a real chance to make a run at the playoffs in 2019. You can bet his passion will remain the same, regardless of the double standard that may exist.

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NFL Rumors: Tom Brady could enter season without new Patriots contract

tom_brady2.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

NFL Rumors: Tom Brady could enter season without new Patriots contract

As he enters his 20th NFL season, Tom Brady may be in line for a "first."

The 41-year-old quarterback, who's entering the final year of his contract, has "no new deal ... on the horizon at this point" with the New England Patriots, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday.

Brady has never played an NFL season in the last year of his deal, as he's always restructured his contract -- mostly on team-friendly terms -- to ensure some peace of mind and help the Patriots build out their roster.

The six-time Super Bowl champion has put the pressure on New England in years past but is playing it close to the vest this offseason, telling reporters, "I never really talk about my contract or anything like that. I don’t really want to start doing that now" back in June.

Brady still hopes to play until age 45, so the Patriots could simply wait until next offseason to sign him to one last two- or three-year deal. But considering they locked up wide receiver Julian Edelman with a new contract earlier this summer, it's still notable that they're not doing the same with the greatest player in franchise history.

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