The New England Patriots likely need to win each of their final six games to qualify for the NFL playoffs.
Reeling off five more victories — which would put New England at 10-6 and likely would be enough to secure a wild-card spot — will be a tall task. Can the Patriots do it?
Quarterback Cam Newton, who struggled mightily as a passer Sunday but had a key 14-yard carry to help set up Nick Folk’s game-winning kick, was asked that question Monday during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “Greg Hill Show.”
“I think we can go 1-0 next week,” Newton replied. “And just for the record, every game in Foxborough, Massachusetts, by way of Boston, Massachusetts, is a must-win. I don’t know who gave anybody any type of inclination, but even a blind man can see, even an unconscious person can notice that every game is a must-win.
“Let’s not play this role of, ‘Oh my God, it’s a must-win.’ Since Week 1 it’s been a must-win. If you don’t believe that just listen to the radio show, just listen to ESPN, just watch Twitter, just look at social media and the expectation is already set. There needs no type of added incentives, motives or any type of stress here moving forward because we know what we need to do as a team, and I know we can conquer it one week at a time.”
The 5-6 Patriots are scheduled to visit the 3-8 Los Angeles Chargers this Sunday in the first of three straight road games. They’ll be back in L.A. next Thursday for a date with the 7-4 Rams, then head to South Florida to face the 7-4 Miami Dolphins before finishing at home against the 8-3 Buffalo Bills and 0-11 New York Jets.
New England has not missed the playoffs since the 2008 season. It currently sits in 10th place in the AFC standings, two games back of the third and final wild-card berth.