By Daniel Libon
Editor's Note: Information used in this article was provided by Patriots Media Relations.
With a bye this weekend, the New England Patriots will get to enjoy the luxury of relaxing this weekend while they wait and see who their first playoff opponent will be.
The Patriots have now qualified for the playoffs 21 times in their 54-year history. The Patriots have earned 15 playoff berths in the 20 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence.
The New England Patriots have won 13 AFC East crowns under Kraft’s leadership. New England has won 16 division crowns overall (15 AFC East crowns) and have qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players’ strike.
While usually we look at what you need to know for upcoming games, Foxborough Patch is using this weekend to look at what you need to know for the playoffs!
Who Will the Patriots Play?
The Patriots will play the highest remaining seed after the wild card round. If #3 Cincinnati beats San Diego, the Bengals will head to Foxboro next Saturday. If the Chargers pull off an upset, the Patriots will face the winner of the Indianapolis-Kansas City game.
The Patriots will play their opponent in the division round of the playoffs at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 11 at 8:15 p.m.
What to Look for in the Postseason
- Bill Belichick (18) needs one more postseason victory to tie Don Shula (19) for second place in postseason wins. Tom Landry (20) is in first place.
- Tom Brady (6) needs two more 300 yard games in the postseason to match the 8 by Peyton Manning for the all-time lead.
- Brady (42) needs four more postseason touchdowns to move past Joe Montana (45) and Brett Favre (44) for the all-time lead.
- Brady has the most postseason wins with (17) in NFL history and can add to his NFL record this postseason. He has one more win than Joe Montana (16), who is in second place.
- Brady has the all-time record for most postseason yards in NFL history (5,949) and will be looking to add to that total this postseason. Brett Favre (5,855), Joe Montana (5,772) and Peyton Manning (5,679) are behind Brady. Brady (533) can add to his NFL record of postseason completions.
- Stephen Gostkowski (18) needs two more postseason field goals to become just the 11th NFL player to reach 20 field goals in the postseason. He is currently tied for 11th in the NFL with his 18 postseason field goals.
- Gostkowski is tied for 11th in NFL history with 90 postseason points and needs 10 points to become just the seventh play in NFL history with 100 postseason points.
Patriots Set NFL Mark For Most NFL Byes, First AFC Team to Earn Four in a Row
The Patriots earned a first-round bye in the 2013 NFL playoffs and lead the NFL with nine first-round byes since the current NFL playoff format was instituted in 1990. The Patriots have earned a first-round bye for the fourth consecutive season, becoming the third NFL team to record four straight byes and the first AFC team to do so, joining Dallas and San Francisco, who did so from 1992 through 1995.
Most Seasons Earning a Bye Since Playoff Format Change in 1990
- New England - 9
- Pittsburgh - 8
- San Francisco - 8