Many believe the Patriots’ dreadful Week 17 loss all but nixed New England’s already slim chances of reaching Super Bowl LIV.
Deion Sanders, however, doesn’t see it that way.
The Patriots lost hold of a first-round bye with their defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. New England now must play on Wild Card Weekend for the first time in a decade, and it’s worth noting the franchise never has won a Super Bowl in a season it was forced to play three prior postseason games. But given how New England has performed of late, especially on offense, Sanders believes the team can benefit from having to keep its nose to the grindstone.
“They don’t need a bye. Offensively, they’ve had a bye all year,” Sanders said Sunday on NFL Network’s “NFL GameDay Prime.” “The receivers have had a bye the whole training camp and everything. They don’t need a bye. They need to stay in it and work on their game and work on getting back to the Super Bowl, where they rightfully belong. This is not a team that deserves, nor needs a week off. This is the best thing to ever happen to them. It really is.”
"My confidence level is tremendously high."@DeionSanders is still a strong believe in the defending champs ??
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 30, 2019
The rest vs. rust debate is a legitimate one, but it’s tough to agree with Sanders in this particular case. A number of New England’s key players currently are dealing with nagging injuries, and it’s safe to assume its 42-year-old quarterback could have benefitted from a week off. On top of losing the bye, the Patriots also now will have to go on the road for the divisional round should they beat the Titans. New England, obviously, would fare much better against the Kansas City Chiefs at home as opposed to Arrowhead Stadium, one of the NFL’s most hostile environments for visiting teams.
So yeah, Prime Time might be a little too confident in the Patriots’ Super Bowl aspirations.