With yet another victory in Week 12, the New England Patriots have improved to 10-1 after defeating the Dallas Cowboys, 13-9. This win continued what has become a troubling trend for the Patriots though, as the team is averaging 16.7 points per game (PPG) in the month of November.
Of course, Patriots fans know better than to overreact at this time of the year by now with nine Super Bowl appearances in the past two decades. New England again looks poised for another deep postseason run, but nothing comes easy in the NFL playoffs.
With that in mind, let's look ahead and consider which potential playoff teams New England would least want to face in the 2019-20 postseason.
1. Baltimore Ravens
The only team to have handed the Patriots a loss this season is the Baltimore Ravens, so they're clearly a tough matchup for New England. To be fair, the Ravens are a tough matchup for anyone. They're the highest scoring offense in the league (coming into their game Monday night) and Baltimore is no slouch defensively either, having held opponents to 14.6 PPG over the last five games. In fact, New England is the only team to have reached 20 points against Baltimore since Week 6. These two have had four postseason meetings since 2010, which has resulted in a 2-2 split.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs haven't looked nearly as dominant as they were last season, but they've still got plenty of time to figure things out. And all indications are that this team will be quite scary come January. After dealing with injuries to Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and some of their top offensive lineman, KC is finally getting healthy and the Chiefs are averaging 28.5 PPG in the eight contests Mahomes has started and finished this season. The MVP QB has also played New England twice in his career, and while he's 0-2, both have come down to the wire. The Chiefs' defense has been far from great, but it's quietly much better than last year's unit, ranking No. 12 in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric, after finishing No. 26 in 2018. If Mahomes is healthy, the Chiefs remain a scary opponent for the Pats.
3. San Francisco 49ers
This matchup would be filled with potential storylines, but it might not be a favorable one for New England. The San Francisco 49ers' have the No. 2 pass defense by DVOA, behind only the Patriots. Thing is, the easiest way to bother Tom Brady is to constantly pressure him, and the 49ers might be better equipped to do that than any other team in the NFL. San Francisco has a 11.8 sack percentage – no other team is above 9.3 percent. Nick Bosa and Dee Ford are among the league's best edge rushers, and DeForest Buckner has been flat-out dominant on the interior. Given the struggles that New England's offensive line has had this season, a matchup with San Francisco's pass rush is far from ideal. Plus, Jimmy G obviously knows a thing or two about the Patriots, making this a potentially scary Super Bowl matchup.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.