It’s that time of year again. The holidays, also known as the time where the Patriots separate themselves from the frauds of the AFC.
Any team can go on a winning streak in September and October. Late November and December are a different story. Examples: the Chiefs started 5-0 and have now lost 5 of their last 6. The Bills started 5-2 and are now 6-5.
Meanwhile, the Pats just clinched their 17th consecutive winning season. That’s the longest streak in the NFL since 1970. In other words, we’ve been here before.
Sunday afternoon’s match-up against the Dolphins at Gillette went pretty much how everyone expected. They weren’t perfect but they came away with a blowout 35-17 win.
Miami is especially struggling right now, having lost five in a row. But they’re in the majority right now in the AFC when you talk about teams that aren’t built for late-season games.
Prior to week 12, there was one team that stood a sliver of a chance to disrupt New England’s path back to the Super Bowl. That team was the Pittsburgh Steelers, who barely beat the Brett Hundley-led Packers (losers of 5 of their last 6) on Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
After that shaky performance, it’s getting harder to consider them a threat against a team that always plays their best football after Thanksgiving. The Patriots will breeze past Mike Tomlin’s squad in three weeks and they’ll breeze past them in the AFC Championship a month later, resulting in a 2004 Super Bowl rematch against the Eagles. If it wasn’t already, this season is becoming incredibly predictable.
Follow Jack Bardsley on Twitter @BostonsBigFour