New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

  • Since their bye week, the Patriots’ schedule has been anything but consistent. In fact, the team has played just two 1 p.m. Sunday home games since their bye week, and only one such game since Thanksgiving. As their season winds down though, they’ll be in that time slot one more time.

    Monday afternoon, the NFL announced the full schedule for Week 18. There was some speculation that their matchup against the Bills in Buffalo would get a national TV window given the win-and-in nature of the game, but instead, they’ll kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

    While the Patriots are win-and-in for that game, there are scenarios in which they can get in with a loss too. That would require a trio of other games going their way. Two of those games will be played simultaneously on Sunday, while a third will already be in the books by the time the Patriots kick off on Sunday.

  • In order for the Patriots to get in at 8-9, they need the Browns to beat the Steelers, the Jets to beat the Dolphins, and the Jaguars to beat the Titans. The Steelers and Dolphins games will both also be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday, but Jaguars-Titans will be the 8:15 p.m. game on Saturday night. That means this scenario could already be off the table by the time the Patriots game starts.

    There are likely playoff stakes in this game for the Bills as well. No matter what happens with their Monday Night game against the Bengals to conclude Week 17, it’s possible Buffalo will need to win next week to lock up the top seed in the AFC and the lone Wild Card bye.

    The only way Buffalo could have it locked up prior to the Patriots game is by winning Monday night, and then having Kansas City lose to the Raiders in Week 18, in a game that will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. If that happens, it’s possible the Bills would sit their starters for this must-win game for the Patriots.

    That’s a lot to be sorted out, but none of it matters if the Patriots just take care of business on Sunday. Coverage begins at 10 a.m. on 98.5 The Sports Hub and the Patriots Radio Network.

    Other big games next week include the Lions and Packers, likely playing for a playoff spot on Sunday night. The full Week 18 schedule can be found here.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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