The New England Patriots finished the regular-season with a winning record, but how they look entering the postseason is hardly ideal.
Sunday’s nagging 33-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins had some playoff-seeding implications and the Patriots didn’t help themselves with a lackluster performance defensively, as the Dolphins (9-8) racked up 195 yards on the ground and nearly doubled the scoring output allowed per game (17.83 points) by the Pats. The offense and rookie quarterback Mac Jones arguably could be held more at fault for the loss, though, with 3 turnovers (interception, 2 fumbles).
The loss pushed the Patriots from the 5th to the 6th seed, which really made things more difficult. If the Pats won Sunday, they would be meeting the untested, rookie-led Bengals in the playoffs but instead they will meet Buffalo, the AFC East champions the past two seasons.
Furthermore, the Patriots opened and closed the season with a loss to the Dolphins for the first time since pre-TB12 and dynasty days, handing Miami their first regular-season sweep of the team since 2000.