Why Patriots fans should root for the Jets in Week 18

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Patriots’ AFC East title drought might only last one season. But in a strange twist of fate, New England will need the Jets’ help to retake the division crown.

The Patriots are already guaranteed a playoff berth, but they can secure a first-round playoff home game and a better seed as a division winner. The only way that happens, though, is if the Bills lose to the Jets on Sunday and the Patriots beat the Dolphins. Both teams are tied at 10-6 but the Bills hold the tiebreaker over the Patriots. So if both teams win, the Bills take the division.

Beating the Bills might be a tall order for the Jets to fill. Buffalo crushed the New York in a 45-17 route in Week 10 and the Jets won’t have most of their starting offensive line, three of their top pass-catchers and a few defensive starters. The Bills, meanwhile, will be mostly healthy and playing for a better playoff seed and an easier path to the Super Bowl.

This isn’t the first time the Patriots have needed the Jets to win in order to take the division. In 2008, the Patriots needed the Brett Favre-led Jets to beat the Dolphins in Week 17 for New England to win the division and earn a playoff berth. New York lost to the Chad Pennington-led Dolphins, though, and Miami took the AFC East and went to the playoffs. Prior to the 2020 season, that was the last time Bill Belichick didn’t win the division.

While only the AFC East crown is at stake this time around, a Jets win would still be crucial for the Patriots’ path to the Super Bowl. Both teams play at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, so the Patriots won’t know their playoff fate until after their game ends.

List

Jets vs. Bills: AFC East title race among 6 Week 18 storylines