But there was another reason the Pats needed a win over their division rivals: They were looking to avoid a three-game losing streak, something that has not happened to the franchise since 2002.
The last time New England lost three consecutive games in a season was in 2002 when it lost four straight games to San Diego, Miami, Green Bay and Denver. The Patriots then defeated Buffalo on November 3, 2002 to end the streak. Since then, they have lost two straight on five occasions, but have not lost a third.
In those five two-game losing streaks since midseason in 2002, the Patriots have won the following game in convincing fashion in three of the five instances. In 2002, the Patriots beat Miami 27-24 in overtime in the last game of the season. In the other four games after a two-game losing streak, New England won 35-0 over Green Bay (2006), 20-10 over Carolina (2009), 37-16 over the Jets (2011) and 52-28 over Buffalo (2012).
Even though we are only four weeks into the 2012 season, four teams have already lost three straight games this season: Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans and Tampa Bay.
Following is a look at the last time each of the 32 NFL teams lost three consecutive games in a season.
2002: New England
2008: Green Bay
2009: Baltimore, Pittsburgh
2011: Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington
2012: Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Tampa Bay
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