After a crushing Week 6 loss to one of the best teams in football, the Patriots rebounded in a big way Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
No, a win over the Jets isn’t anything to write home about. But a 41-point victory is impressive any way you slice it, and for some, New England’s dominant Week 7 showing maintained hope for Bill Belichick’s team to reach the playoffs.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano isn’t ready to change his stance on the Patriots, however. If you’re saying New England ultimately will qualify for the postseason on the heels of its rout against New York, Graziano believes that’s an overreaction.
“Look, they’re only a game behind Cleveland for the final AFC wild-card spot, which means they’re in the mix,” Graziano wrote. “But the other teams in that mix include not only Cleveland but also the Steelers, Chiefs, Broncos, Colts — it’s a muddle in the AFC. In fact, FPI gives them only a 30.8% chance to make the playoffs.
“It’s hard to bet against Bill Belichick and yada yada, but the Pats still have a rookie quarterback and a lot of questions to answer before we put them in January games. Can’t rule them out, but also can’t put them in the postseason based off one big game against a really woeful Jets team.”
Perhaps Graziano will start to be more of a believer in the Patriots if they notch a road win over the 4-2 Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.