The AFC is theirs for the taking. Or is it “there for the taking” for them?
That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that last night there New England Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts with relative ease by running all over them.
With the win, the Patriots improve to 8-2, the best record in the AFC and then second best record in the NFL. Only the Cardinals, who have matched New England’s 6-game winning streak, have a better overall record at 9-1.
The St. Louis Rams pulled a major upset yesterday by beating the Denver Broncos – really dominating the game – on their home field.
That loss drops the Broncos not 7-3. The Patriots now have a one game lead on them in the standings, as well as the luxury of winning the head-to-head tie breaker when they be at the Broncos at home in week 9.
Beating the Colts last night gives the Pats a two game lead over Indy – as well as the head-to-head tie breaker.
Beating up on the Bengals in week five gives the Pats a game lead over Cincy – as well as the head-to-head tie breaker again.
The AFC is theirs if they want it, but it’s not going to be easy. The Chiefs, in the midst of a five game winning streak of their own, are only one game behind the Patriots – and their beat down of New England in week four gives Kansas City the head-to-head tie breaker over New England.
The Patriots are in the driver seat of the conference, but there are plenty of teams breathing down their neck. New England can afford to lose one more game and still be in front of the Broncos, Colts, and Bengals – but if they do lose one more time, they better hope the Chiefs lose too, otherwise the road to the Super Bowl could go through Kansas City.
Best case scenario is that the Chiefs lose one more game, giving the Patriots a little more breathing room.
Actually, the real best case scenario is that the Patriots just win all six of their remaining games. I don’t want to look past Detroit at home next week – but I will. That game against Green Bay – in Green Bay – in what some people are calling a preview to the Super Bowl – is going to be a huge one.
But again – let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Great, big win last night – now let’s see the Patriots come home next week and beat up on those Lions.
It’s yours for the taking New England. Now take it.
Follow Mike, who wrote 99% of this on a tablet while stuck on a subway in Boston, on Twitter at @mikey_c.