Just get out of the cold with a win.
The New England Patriots enter New Year’s Eve in control of its own destiny, as a victory would lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
The New York Jets come into the firigid Foxboro with no real motive to win, as it wants its draft pick as high as possible for a chance to draft an attractive quarterback in the draft.
New York defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson has almost assuredly played his last game for the Gang Green, as he has been inactive for the past two weeks amid distractions he has been causing in the locker room. This leaves them one person short tryinig to get after Tom Brady.
The Patriots will be mightily thin at running back, as James White, Rex Burkhead, and Mike Gillislee will not be suiting up, leaving just Dion Lewis and special teams ace Brandon Bolden to fill the void.
There was some speculation of sorts early in the week that second-year wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell may be able to make his debut, but he will not be able to go either. The team still has a chance to activate him for the playoffs however.
Since the game is expected to be one of the coldest in franchise histoy, it suggests that the Patriots have an advantage coming into play, as 42-10 record in contests that are 34-degress or colder.
The key aspect in this regard is keeping everyone healthy. A team hates to see a player go down in a game that the it should be able to control if it jumps out to an early lead. If the Patriots are up big, expect to see a lot of Brian Hoyer in the second half.
The Jets certainly will have no motivation to play through the temperatures, it’s time to lock up home field and prepare for the playoffs.