After a shocking loss to the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night it got me thinking, who in the AFC could take the Pats down in the playoffs. There aren’t many teams with what it takes to beat the Pats in Foxboro but here are four likely teams that could down the Pats in the playoffs from the AFC.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers: I’m not sure I believe this, but I would feel stupid putting number 2 at number 1. The Steelers make a lot of mistakes, have a defense that really misses Ryan Shazier, and proverbially choke in the playoffs yet they may be the most talented team in football. If there is a recipe to beat the Pats, it may be beat them in a shootout and finish in the red zone. The Pats defense is fixed in the sense they won’t let you score a lot of points, but they give up the third most yards per game in the league. If you can finish in the Red zone like the Steelers do, 70% in their last 3, you might just beat the Pats.
2. Baltimore Ravens: Stats wise there isn’t much to back this up other than the fact you must hit Tom Brady a lot to slow him down. The Ravens defense can certainly do that. No, the reason the men from Baltimore sit at two is no matter where they play, they always play the Pats tight. The Ravens are the only team that has beaten the Pats in Foxboro in the playoffs since 2012. That stat for the Patriots is mind boggling in and of itself but if Joe Flacco gets hot people forget he is Tom Brady’s Kryptonite in the post season.
3. Los Angeles Chargers: Perhaps the hottest team in the AFC right now if LA stays this way and makes the playoffs they have a recipe to give Tom and Bill trouble. Heavy pressure from Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, ball hawking secondary led by Casey Heyward, and an offense that looks down right unstoppable. It’s a lot of if at this point but it’s certainly a possibility.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: Crazy? Maybe, but the Jags are a crazy team we just can’t figure out. Some days they beat the Steelers and Seahawks others they lose to the Titans. They have the defense to do it, hope Blake Bortles shows up.