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Do the New England Patriots need the top seed in the AFC to make the Super Bowl? No.

In the three seasons that the Patriots have won the Super Bowl, two of them they had to win in Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship. The last two seasons, the Pats have had the top seed in the AFC, and they lost in the Divisional round and Super Bowl. Home field advantage may have helped them beat Baltimore in last year's AFC title game, but much like Tom Brady winning the MVP award, being the best team in the regular season doesn't always translate into Super success.

The New York Giants have won five road playoff games in their last two Super Bowl runs which culminated in victories over New England both times. Two seasons ago the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl as the No. 6 seed in the NFC. If the Giants and Packers can go on the road for Super Bowl berths, and then win the championship at a neutral site, so can the Patriots.

Tom Brady is 3-2 on the road in the playoffs, if you include the 2002 AFC Championship when Brady was hurt in the first half, and Drew Bledsoe led New England to New Orleans. He has wins at San Diego and Pittsburgh, with losses at Denver and Indianapolis. But with the Patriots' dominance of the regular season in recent years, Brady hasn't had that many chances on the road in the postseason. Places like Baltimore or Houston would pose tough challenges, but don't you believe New England can win there?

In America, we love the playoffs and tournaments. Although most people view the postseason as crowning "the best." I don't always look at it that way. And Patriot fans know first hand, just because a team has the best record, doesn't mean they are the champions.

The NFL playoffs have become more like March Madness where momentum is a lot more important than consistency over the course of a long season. In recent years, the Patriots have gone into the playoffs with long win streaks, only to see them end. Some NFL players have said that going on the road not only in the regular season, but the playoffs, gives the team more focus heading into games. I'm not saying I want the Pats to go 9-7, but perhaps a run on the road will get them over the hump and help the team win its elusive fourth Super Bowl.

Colin McDonough 11/20/2012 10:00:00 AM Edit
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