Monday Night Football between the archrival Patriots and Jets, both with the best record in the AFC has the feel of a championship game.
In many ways it is. A victory in this game would put the winner in pole position for the AFC East division title. It would also do the same for the team’s standing as the best team in the AFC.
And with the stakes extremely high, and some of the fiercest competition on the field, this game could go a long way, both logistically and mentally, to the victor reaching the Super Bowl.
The two best teams in the conference will duel it out, mano a mano, to see who has all the advantages.
Both these teams have shown—this season, last season and in the recent past—that they can win anywhere. However, home field advantage would be big.
The Patriots finished last season undefeated at home (although it didn’t help them in the playoffs), and are 5-0 this season. The Jets aren’t perfect—their only two losses this season came at home—but they still have a winning record at home at 4-2, including a Week 2 win against the Patriots.
Also, the playoffs will be played in the winter, and in New York and New England that means adverse conditions. The only potential playoff team that is used to that type of weather would be Pittsburgh, and so far this season the Patriots have already beaten them, so it’s possible.
The number one seed in the playoffs, and the home field advantage that comes with it, was awarded to the team with the best record. The winner of the game Monday night will own the best record in the AFC. It may not end that, way, but they’re in good position to do so.
In the AFC, 18 of the 35 top seeds have reached the Super Bowl, and in the NFC 21 of them did that. It may not seem like an impressive number, but it is more than half. And that is one seed against the field. Break it down individually by seed number and the No. 1’s have the advantage.
With a win and having the best record, the winner will be one step closer to getting a first round bye. Every team would relish an extra week, but these two teams would absolutely make the most of it. Not only would they get an extra week to regroup and rest their weary bodies, but do you want to give Rex Ryan an extra week to rally the troops?
Do you want to give Bill Belichick an extra week to prepare and game plan?
The Patriots are 10-1 in the regular season after a bye under Belichick.
The playoffs are when the best teams go up against each other. If a team isn’t at the top of its game or isn’t used to playing in the pressure-filled environment, then they usually wilt and their playoff trip is short.
This game pits two of the best teams duking it out against each other, for the second time this season. They are already playing the best competition and they know what it takes to win. They’ve played the two best teams already, and the Pats have also beaten the Ravens and Steelers. The Jets learned from their loss against the Ravens, and will look to establish dominance over the Steelers in two more weeks.
This game is nationally televised in primetime. The media markets are huge. The competition is fierce.
This is playoff football, and whoever wins will be better prepared for everything the postseason will have to offer.
A win for the Pats would be their fourth in a row, and it would be the Jets sixth in a row. Both teams have gutted out victories this season, even when they didn’t have their best stuff.
The Jets survived overtime scares from Detroit and Cleveland, then came from behind in the final seconds to beat the Texans.
The Jets are finding ways to win, no matter the cost.
People have doubted the Patriots all season, and this isn’t the most talented Patriots team they’ve had, especially when they traded away Randy Moss. A win against the Jets would mean that they would have beaten the three teams with the best records in the AFC.
It’s cliché, but if you can go into the playoffs playing your best football, you’re in good shape. The winner here would have the psychological advantage over teams, fully believing that they can and will beat anyone.