New England Patriots

The Patriots Will Need To Overcome A Bizarre Trend To Win Sixth Super Bowl

New England Patriots v New York Jets

The New England Patriots will once again begin their drive for a record-tying sixth Super Bowl on January 13 when they host either the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, or Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round. Oddly, a bizarre scheduling trend suggests that the Patriots are not going to win the Super Bowl.

For the first time during the Brady/Belichick era, the Patriots will play in the Sunday 1pm divisional round slot. Since the NFL changed its playoff schedule prior to the 2001 playoffs to include Saturday night games, teams playing out of the Sunday 1pm slot have won the Super Bowl only twice.

Typically, the league’s heavyweights and/or top seeds occupy the premium late windows on Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.

The only teams to win out of that slot were the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers. Only one of those champions was an actual division winner – the ’02 Buccaneers.

The table below shows each Sunday 1pm divisional round playoff game since the 2001 season including what eventually happened to the winner.

SUNDAY 1PM PLAYOFF GAMES WINNER OUTCOME
2017 JACKSONVILLE/PITT JAX LOST AFCT
2016 PITT/KC** PITT LOST AFCT
2015 SEA/CAROLINA CAR LOST SB
2014 DAL/GB GB
LOST NFCT
2013 SF/CAR SF
LOST NFCT
2012 SEA/ATL ATL
LOST NFCT
2011 HOU/BAL BAL LOST AFCT
2010 SEA/CHI CHI
LOST NFCT
2009 DAL/MIN MIN
LOST NFCT
2008 PHI/NYG PHI
LOST NFCT
2007 SD/IND SD LOST AFCT
2006 SEA/CHI CHI LOST SB
2005 PITT/IND PITT WON SB
2004 MIN/PHI PHI LOST SB
2003 IND/KC IND LOST AFCT
2002 SF/TB TB WON SB
2001 BAL/PITT PITT LOST AFCT

**The Steelers/Chiefs game was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon but moved to Sunday night due to inclement weather in the Kansas City area.

For what it’s worth, four of New England’s five Super Bowl victories have come when they were scheduled to begin divisional play on a Saturday.

Is New England’s fate sealed because of their scheduling? Not at all. If they are done on the road to the Super Bowl, it will likely because of not being able score enough points in Kansas City or figuring out a way to slow down whomever represents the NFC in the Super Bowl.

However, this is one odd trend.

H/T – Pro Football Reference

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