The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Today Is the Day: Patriots Can Clinch Playoff Berth With Win Over Jaguars

Posted on | January 2, 2022 | Comments Off on Today Is the Day: Patriots Can Clinch Playoff Berth With Win Over Jaguars

Yesterday someone said, “Stacy, I gotta tell ya — I liked you a whole lot more before you became a vocal Patriots fan. Remember, most of their fans are Massachusetts communists.” OK, I admit this has become somewhat obsessive, but as I say, when they drafted Mac Jones, they recruited me as a fan. It is what it is. And now this:

New England has two simple ways it can clinch a playoff spot in Week 17. A Patriots win against the Jaguars and either a Dolphins loss to the Titans or a Raiders loss to the Colts would be enough to secure a spot.

This should be as easy as an Alabama homecoming game against Mercer. It’s a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are 2-13 and haven’t won on the road all year. Jacksonville needs to keep losing so they can get the No. 1 draft pick, and it would be an embarrassment for the Patriots if this game is even close. It ought to be a blowout, so if Mac throws for 300 yards and three touchdowns, that’s just expected.

There has been talk of Mac hitting “the rookie wall,” i.e., coming into the NFL, players aren’t used to the long season — they’ve played 15 games already — and so his ability to bounce back after consecutive losses to the Colts and Bills makes today’s game important, even though it should be a walkover against the Jags. It would be valuable, also, to clinch their playoff berth now, so that their final regular season game — on the road against the streaking Dolphins — isn’t all-or-nothing.

Speaking of Miami (AOC’s preferred vacation spot), Alabama alumni Tua Tagovailoa has the Dolphins cooking lately. After starting the season 1-7, Miami has now won seven games in a row, and Tagovailoa’s performance has attracted a loyal following known online by the hashtag #TuAnon.

It’s nice to see the ’Bama boys doing good, so of the two possible clinch scenarios for the Patriots today, I’d prefer to see the Colts beat the Raiders, and let Tua and the Dolphins beat the Titans — which won’t be easy, because the game’s at Nashville, but #TuAnon will not be denied.

So, the Patriots clinch today and then we go to Miami next week, where the Dolphins will be playing for their postseason lives — nice for the narrative arc. Keep in mind, the big dream is for Mac to take the Patriots all the way to the Super Bowl. We don’t deal in small dreams here.



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