As the Patriots look forward to a week of self-scouting and some well-deserved rest, most of their potential playoff opponents are gearing up for games this weekend.
A Boston Globe columnist declares that New England's perceived lack of competition makes for a lackluster postseason run to Super Bowl LI.
"The Patriots are going to get to the AFC Championship game without a serious test of their considerable abilities," he states, "and everybody around here seems to be absolutely thrilled at the prospect of two straight bye weeks before the Patriots maybe get pushed slightly by the Steelers or Chiefs in the AFC title game in Foxborough."
Another Globe piece takes a more analytical look at the importance of home-field advantage in the playoffs, which the Patriots enjoy once again this season.
"Of course, the reason for New England's frequent advance through January goes beyond the mere fact that they've had home field," the story asserts.
Over at the Boston Herald, one writers offers here five keys to a Patriots victory in Super Bowl LI.
Meanwhile, with both Patriots coordinators reportedly receiving job interviews this weekend, the Herald ranks the job openings currently available to Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia.
The Providence Journal takes a first-things-first approach, choosing to evaluate the quarterback situations of the three potential opponents the Patriots could host in the Divisional round next weekend.
On CSNNE.com, you'll find an interesting opinion piece about how the Patriots and two key players they dealt away this past year have all benefitted from those moves.
Another former Patriot, Vince Wilfork, is mulling retirement, but not before his current team, the Texans, could face the Patriots at Gillette next weekend.
"It's something I've been thinking about," Wilfork told the Houston Chronicle. "It is a possibility."
Elsewhere, Tom Brady fans aren't going to like this, but one ESPN columnist makes a case for TB12 NOT to be NFL MVP this year.
"Brady is brilliant, and his season was brilliant," the author writes. "The problem is that it wasn't a season. It was three-quarters of a season. And that's why Brady shouldn't win this particular award this particular year."
He goes on to explain further.
However, a counterpoint can be found on WEEI.com, where a writer states that if Brady doesn’t win MVP, it will be Roger Goodell’s doing.
"It's clear Brady has more important things on his mind like winning the Super Bowl," the scribe states, "but this week is a reminder of another thing the quarterback could miss out on because of Goodell… the man who suspended the quarterback the first four games of the season for his role in Deflategate."