There was talk as to whether or not Bill Belichick should have rested his starters against the Buffalo Bills. Some people thought it would be better for the New England Patriots to play in the Wild Card Round and follow the blueprint of some of the past Super Bowl champions. However, Belichick decided to coach to win the game and claim another top-two seed. This was absolutely the right move.
A top-two seed is well worth earning. First off, it actually increases the chance for a team to win the Super Bowl. Any team that earns a bye week has to play one less game and automatically has one-in-eight odds to win it all. Playing for that bye week is a numbers game, and having the numbers on your side is obviously good.
Thanks to another top-two finish in the AFC, the Patriots will be guaranteed a home game in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Let’s go back to the numbers game on that one. The Patriots were 8-0 at home this season, so any sort of home playoff game would obviously make the team a favorite. It is not a guaranteed win, but consider the Patriots a strong favorite to at least reach the AFC Championship Game, putting the team’s Super Bowl odds at one-in-four.
Lastly — and especially this season — the bye week gives some Patriots players time to recover from injuries. The Patriots have been one of the most banged up teams in the NFL this season but go into the playoffs relatively healthy (aside from guys that have been placed on injured reserve). It will be nice for guys like Devin McCourty, Aaron Dobson, Alfonzo Dennard and Josh Boyce to all have the week off to get healthy. These are the luxuries that come from being a top-two seed in the playoffs.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.