Potential Patriot Opponents For Divisional Round
By the end of tonight, the New England Patriots will know which team will be coming to Gillette Stadium next week for the divisional round of the postseason.
Both AFC wild card round match ups are on tap today, as Houston hosts Kansas City at 4:20 and Cincinnati hosts Pittsburgh in the 8:00 pm nightcap.
As of now, three of those four teams have the possibility of playing the Patriots next week. As the number three seed, Cincinnati would head to New England with a win for a two vs. three battle. If Pittsburgh wins that game, however, then the Pats would get the winner of the early game.
Though Cincinnati is the top seeded team of the four playing today and they will play the lowest seeded team, a win for them is no sure thing. Yes, they have home field, but they are playing with a rookie quarterback and they don't have a track record of being a quality postseason team, at home or on the road.
In all honesty, a Pittsburgh win is actually the popular pick right now, because of the Steelers' high powered offensive attack. What they possess in offense, they lack in defense, however. So, if a couple of bounces go Cincy's way, they could be at Gillette next week.
As for the early game, it's another one where the lower seeded, road team is the favorite. Kansas City is rolling into Houston on a 10 game winning streak, after starting the season 1-5. In fact, on paper the Chiefs are probably the team that all of New England doesn't want to see. Regardless of the 10 straight wins, Kansas City is still a beatable team, who hasn't really dominated anybody. Houston, on the other hand, has gotten a bit healthier on defense with J.J. Watt's hand healing up. The Texans' offense is not very dynamic, though, and if Kansas City finds a way to neutralize DeAndre Hopkins.
All in all, I see both Pittsburgh and Kansas City moving on, which means the Chiefs would be in New England next Saturday. Regardless of who shows up at Gillette next weekend, I'm willing to bet the Pats will be ready to go.