by Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
THIS IS THE WAY CHAMPIONS DO IT
The Patriots smashed the Miami Dolphins 28-0. They leave Miami and the rest of the AFC East (all below .500) in their wake on the way to the playoffs.
Most of the damage was damage took place in the first half with a Tom Brady touchdown pass and two Stevan Ridley touchdown runs. Brady added another touchdown pass to Rob Gronkowski in the fourth quarter for good measure.
This was Gronkowski's first game back since he broke his arm five weeks ago.
The running game did it's job again gaining 167 yards on 38 carries (4.4 YPA). Ridley led the way with 74 yards.
Brady had another moderate (Brady) game with 284 yards passing yards and two touchdown passes.
WIN GIVES PATRIOTS BYE WEEK
Now they have a week to get Gronkowski back to 100 percent Gronk finished two catches for 42 yards and one touchdown. His Gronk Touchdown Spike TM showed a man clearly limited by his forearm.
He still managed to block with one arm and made sure to protect his injured arm throughout the Week 17 contest.
The Patriots will face the highest seed remaining in the Divisional Round when they resume playing in two weeks. This most likely sets up a rematch between the Patriots and the Denver Broncos at the AFC Championship.
New England won the first matchup in Week 5 when Denver was still trying to find themselves. Now, 11 straight wins later and with the top seed in the AFC, the Broncos are the hottest team in the NFL.
Clearly one of these two teams will represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. It will be Brady and Manning one more time.
Since all paths lead through Denver and their stingy air supply, it won't be the usual cakewalk for Brady and the Patriots.