Patriots Win Seals Their Playoff Invitation
Brady cheers Morris' TD (AP)
Brady cheers Morris' TD (AP)

Posted Dec 29, 2009


When the New England Patriots dismantled the Jacksonville Jaguars, it proved that the New England offense is alive and well. The win also vaulted New England into the Wildcard round of the AFC Playoffs. The Patriots will host a game in the first round at Gillette Stadium. The opponent remains undetermined.

The first step of the Patriots' journey is now complete. They destroyed the Jaguars 35-7 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday to wrap up their first AFC East title in two years and put the finishing touches on an undefeated home record.

Though it might not seem like much in the long run -- and this is often the case in the New England locker room when the team celebrates anything other than a Super Bowl title -- capturing another division crown is a return to normalcy of sorts in Foxboro.

Prior to last season, the Patriots had won five consecutive AFC East titles and six of seven. This year's championship gives them seven in nine years, a continuation of their unprecedented success among their division rivals.

The postgame malaise in the locker room suggested otherwise. In fact, the only player truly clutching onto his commemorative AFC East hat and T-shirt was cornerback Leigh Bodden, who is appreciative of his newfound success. Bodden played for the Lions in 2008 -- the NFL's first 0-16 team.

"I've never been a part of something like this," Bodden said. "I'm definitely excited. I've been in the league for seven years, and I've worked hard, and finally something's come of it. But we're not done. Hopefully, we can do a lot of good things after this."

Bodden's closing remarks represent the cumulative opinion of his teammates. This is just the first step on what they hope is a journey back to the Super Bowl. The Patriots were there as recently as two years ago, which is not a long time by anyone's standards, but it is a sore subject in New England based on the fact their most recent appearance resulted in a shocking loss to the Giants.

To ensure the division title won't be the only completed step on their checklist, the Patriots must do something they haven't accomplished all that often in 2009 -- win consistently on the road.

As either the No. 3 or 4 seed, the Patriots are guaranteed one home game in the playoffs. If they win, they then would head out on the road against one of the AFC's top two teams, Indianapolis or San Diego.

The chances of New England winning in either city look bleak on paper, but it's worth noting the Patriots did lead the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium this year before a deflating fourth-quarter collapse. They have won their last two playoff games against the Chargers, albeit with different personnel on both sides.

The task now is figuring out what to do in the season finale. Since the Patriots don't have a first-round bye, it's likely most of the starters will get some time to rest. This, in essence, will be their bye week. From there, it's anyone's guess which team they'll meet in the playoff opener.


MORE
Jaguars News -- Forums
Patriots News -- Forums

Hot Topic: Patriots Jaguars Game Thread

THE NEWSWIRE: links to news around the web
Best and Worst QBs vs The Blitz
It’s All About Jones-Drew
War of Words
Taylor vs Del Rio

MEMBERS ONLY (Free 7-Day trial)
Behind Enemy Lines - Jaguars Part 1
Behind Enemy Lines - Jaguars Part 2
Behind Enemy Lines - Patriots vs Jags Part 1
Teams Looking At Patriots Front Office Staff



Related Stories
Kisha’s Korner: The Miami Finale
 -by PatriotsInsider.com  Dec 10, 2009
Bodden Named NFL Defensive Player of the Week
 -by DukesSports.com  Nov 25, 2009
Leigh Bodden on Sunday Night Football
 -by DukesSports.com  Nov 15, 2009

PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION INCLUDES
> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> Free Agency &
   Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from PatriotsInsider.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
CB Leigh Bodden (profile)
[View My HotList]
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Duquesne > Alumni
Football > New England
Football > Northwestern HS > Alumni
[View My HotList]