In case you couldn’t tell from Bill Belichick‘s stone-cold news conference on Tuesday morning, it’s playoff time in Foxborough. No, they won’t have Wes Welker, but they do have Tom Brady. And if anything’s been made perfectly clear since Belichick strolled into town in 2000, it’s that this team means business in January.
So with the Ravens coming into town this weekend, it’s a good time to look at how the Patriots have fared in similar situations — notably, how the Patriots have done in the playoffs against teams they faced that regular season and how they’ve done in their first playoff meeting with a team.
These numbers only reflect the Patriots’ numbers during the Brady-Belichick-Faulk era. (Kevin Faulk never gets included in the “era” or “regime” creations, so why not give the man some credit just this once?)
The Patriots’ first postseason rematch from the regular season worked out pretty well as they — rather memorably — defeated the mighty St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Earlier that season, the Rams beat the Pats 24-17 on a Sunday night in November.
Including that game, the Patriots are 7-3 in the playoffs when facing a team that they played in the regular season.
The wins include:
Though those wins range from unforgettable to, well, forgettable, the three losses were crushing. Though Patriots fans need not be reminded, they are:
The Patriots narrowly beat the Ravens 27-21 this year in Week 4 at Gillette. Here’s a deeper look into those rematches:
Also, though the Patriots have played the Ravens this year, it is their first postseason matchup against them this decade. That also bodes well for the Patriots, who are 10-2 when facing a team in the playoffs for the first time.
Of course, these are all just numbers, and when the two teams take the field on Sunday, the only numbers that will matter will be the ones on the scoreboard. The result will come down to game plans and execution, and a game from 2003 won’t do much to propel the Patriots to victory.
Still, it can’t hurt for the Patriots to have history on their side, and with all the negativity that followed the Welker injury, a little bit of optimism can’t hurt the fans.
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