I think the Patriots played the analytic game when losing to the Dolphins
What is the path of least resistance? It is the physical or metaphorical pathway that provides the least resistance to forward motion by a given object or entity, among a set of alternative paths.
Now that we know what that means, let’s look at yesterday’s game between the Dolphins and the Patriots. If the Patriots win the game against the Dolphins they clinch a first round bye, but that means the Chiefs would have been in third place.
The Bills were in fourth and if the Bills were to go to Houston and beat Houston and the Chiefs were to beat Tennessee then the Patriots would have had to face the Bills or Texans.
The Bills they own I get it, but they have barely beat the Bills twice this year. It is hard to beat a team three times, and remember back on 12/1 the Texans beat the Patriots. So, by the Patriots losing to the Phins, they will face the Titans.
Bill Belichick going up against his former player Mike Vrabel. That is a good match-up, and Ryan Tannehill has a decent record against the Patriots he is 4-7 but all of those wins were at home when he played for the Dolphins. All seven losses were on the road in Foxborough.
So, If and when the Patriots beat the Titans they will face the Chiefs, who did beat them earlier this year, but Reid’s record against the Patriots is 3-7 career. Belichick owns him especially in the playoffs.
The Ravens on the other had, spanked the Patriots and they had no answer for them. The Patriots were trying to avoid having to play the Ravens, and hoping that a team like the Texans or the Bills will upset the Ravens so they can sneak away with another Super Bowl appearance.
This was game planning, in my opinion. They knew what they needed to do. I am not taking anything away from the Miami Dolphins, but at the end of the day this was all about positioning. They did this well, and I believe they did this on purpose to duck the best team in the NFL, and hope a team like Buffalo or Houston can somehow knock off the Ravens moving forward. John Harbaugh is 4-6 against the Patriots, with one loss coming in overtime back in 2010, and Lamar Jackson is 1-0 against the Patriots. The Patriots are 2-2 in the post-season against John Harbaugh. The Patriots only held on to win against the Ravens in the post-season, they won 23-20 in 2012 and they won 35-31 in 2015. So I am willing to bet the Patriots looked at the analytics and the path to less resistance was losing to the Phins to play the Titans rather than having to eventually play the Ravens.
The Ravens are the team to beat right now, and the Bills defense seems to be the only team that has really gave the Ravens problems and if they can get by the Texans it could be really interesting to see what happens.
I would love to see the Bills against the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, but if this happened the game would be played in Foxborough. Of course I am a die-hard Bills fan, but I just want to see someone catch the Patriots slipping. Even if Tennessee does it this week!