NFL Playoff Scenarios: Analyzing the New England Patriots' Possible Opponents
It's a wrap—the 2011 NFL regular season is history as we now look towards the playoffs and ultimately Super Bowl XLVI.
With the top seed, the Patriots not only have home-field throughout the playoffs but they play the lowest seeded team that is to advance out of the wild-card round next weekend—which means the Houston Texans are not a possible opponent.
With that being said, what are the possible scenarios moving forward for Bill Belichick and the Patriots?
Scenario 1: Denver Broncos
However, Tebow has proved this season that anything is possible—and the more I think about it, the Steelers would be playing on the road and likely will be without running back Rashard Mendenhall. It could happen.
Scenario 2: Pittsburgh Steelers
This is a scenario I'm sure most New England fans out there would love to avoid as the Steelers beat up the Patriots back in Week 8, 25-17.
However, if the Steelers beat the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans knock off the Cincinnati Bengals, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers would have to pay a visit to Gillette Stadium the following Saturday.
Scenario 3: Cincinnati Bengals
If the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Houston Texans, no matter what else happens, their next Saturday night will be spent with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.
This is somewhat of a favorable matchup for the Patriots, as they'll be facing a rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton, but they will have to square off against the NFL's seventh-best defense.
In general, this is a bad matchup for Tom Brady and the offense but a decent matchup for the NFL's worst defense in the Patriots.
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