For only the second time in the past 20 years, we might have a Bill Belichick-less post-season. 

New England currently sits alone at the bottom of the AFC East, which frankly is a very weird scenario that kind of breaks my brain based on everything I know about the NFL. But the reason is simple: For the first time in decades, the other teams in the division are just straight-up better in terms of talent—and most shockingly—coaching. 

Now sitting at 6-6 with several tough games remaining on the schedule, the Patriots find themselves in a potential must-win on the road against the Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Lose, and they’ll fall below .500 with games remaining against the Super Bowl-contending Dolphins, Bengals, and Bills.

Most concerning for New England is how they’ve been carved the past two weeks by Kirk Cousins and Josh Allen in back-to-back double-digit blowouts without having any kind of answer on offense. While Arizona isn’t as good as the Vikings or the Bills, the trend of struggling against talented quarterbacks is concerning when facing human joystick Kyler Murray on the road.

The Cardinals, sitting at 4-8, find themselves in a must-win themselves. The NFC seems to be just putrid enough that they could plausibly make playoffs even with a losing record.

In New England, with its rich history, making the playoffs is the bare minimum expectation. We’re willing to give Coach Belichick the benefit of the doubt in saying that can make a run—but things might get even more interesting in Patriots Land if they lose a few more games and people start playing the blame game. 

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