Welcome to Boston.com’s Sports Q, our daily conversation, initiated by you and moderated by Chad Finn, about a compelling topic in Boston sports. Here’s how it works: You submit questions to Chad through Twitter, Facebook, email, his Friday chat, and any other outlet you prefer. He’ll pick one each weekday to answer, then we’ll take the discussion to the comments. Chad will stop by several times per day to navigate. But you drive the conversation.
Hard to get a read on the Patriots right now, isn’t it? They win ugly but impressively against the Bills, beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers fairly convincingly, then don’t show up against the Titans. I’m not discouraged, but it does seem like their road to the Super Bowl is going to be a difficult one. Where do you think they will end up seeded in the playoffs? This does not look like a team you want going on the road in any playoff round. – Steve C.
Well, it’s always important to get at least the second seed and a first-round bye – it’s an extraordinary advantage over ending up in the No. 3 spot. That seems especially true this year, since the Patriots are 5-0 at home so far, but just 2-3 on the road, with losses to the Jaguars, Lions, and Titans.
Right now, they’ve dipped to the No. 3 spot behind the Steelers, who are 6-2-1 compared to the Patriots’ 7-3. The Steelers are arguably the second-most successful AFC team during the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era, but the often undisciplined Steelers have been little more than a speed bump for the Patriots in the playoffs. Presuming the Patriots are reasonably healthy, I think they would beat Pittsburgh in a divisional round matchup at either venue.
They could make their postseason lives much easier by beating Pittsburgh on the road in their Week 14 matchup. If they can do that, the Patriots almost certainly will end up in the No. 2 seed. The Steelers have some toughies left on the schedule, including a home game against the Chargers, a road matchup with the Saints, and two more potentially tough road games against the Jaguars and Broncos. The Patriots have two left with the Jets and another with the Bills, among other games.
It’s not going to be easy to catch Kansas City for the top seed – the Chiefs are now 9-1, with their lone loss coming to the Patriots. But that No. 2 spot should be theirs if they take care of business like they should.
But what do you guys think? Where will the Patriots end up seeded in the playoffs? I’ll hear you in the comments.