The remaining teams the Patriots face are a combined 21-43 (.328).
Next week's Monday night showdown against the Chiefs got a lot more interesting (and probably a lot easier) with Monday's news that Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel's hand injury will require surgery. That leaves second-year quarterback Tyler Palko to start.
Beyond this week, the Patriots face a string of down-in-the-dumps teams that includes the winless Colts, the 3-6 Redskins, the 4-5 Broncos and the 2-7 Dolphins. A lot of cupcakes in there, for sure.
The only contests that look tough on paper are against the Eagles and the Bills.
The Eagles offense is always a threat to score with dynamic skill position players in DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy. Whether or not quarterback Michael Vick plays through his rib injury remains to be seen, but the Eagles have had a hard time putting it together against some much easier opponents than the Patriots, having most recently lost to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10. They'll have their chances against a Patriots secondary that still ranks dead last against the pass, but the Patriots are a team known for capitalizing on mistakes, and the Eagles are a team known for making them.
At 5-4, the Bills are the only winning team of the seven remaining on New England's schedule. They have lost two straight for the first time this season, both in convincing fashion to the Jets 27-11 at home and the Cowboys 44-7 on the road. Their defense ranks 23rd in scoring, allowing more than 24 points per game. What's more, Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has looked much more human the past few weeks than he did at the start of the season, tossing two touchdowns against five interceptions in the team's past two games.
With seven games and just one winning team left on the Patriots schedule, they could realistically win out, but finishing the season 12-4 or 11-5 should still be enough to make the playoffs even if they don't win out.
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