Revenge is sweet, even if it comes in a roundabout sort of way. The Chargers, at 8-8, are in the playoffs while their cross-country rivals the New England Patriots are on the outside looking in, despite compiling an impressive 11-5 record. Some might consider it an injustice that a team with eleven wins is sent packing, but college football fans would tell you to cry them a river.
In the AFC East, both the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins finished the season with 11-5 records. That in and of itself is hard to believe - the Dolphins won only one game last year, and the Patriots lost Tom Brady for the entire season when he went on the IR in week one. But I digress.
The Dolphins and Patriots were tied in their bids for the playoffs, but Miami is in and the Patriots are not. So what exactly does this have to do with the San Diego Chargers? ESPN.com's Tim Graham breaks it down:
Miami and New England finished with 11-5 records, but Miami used the fourth tiebreaker to get into the postseason.
Here is a breakdown of how it happened, the critical difference being a Dolphins victory over the San Diego Chargers in Week 5:
- The first tiebreaker is head-to-head record. The Dolphins and Patriots split, winning on the road and losing at home. The Dolphins won 38-13 in Week 3. The Patriots won 48-28 in Week 12.
- The second tiebreaker is division record. Both finished 4-2, each splitting with the Jets and sweeping the Buffalo Bills.
- The third tiebreaker is record against common opponents. The Dolphins and Patriots each went 11-3.
- The fourth tiebreaker is conference record. The Dolphins went 8-4, while the Patriots went 7-5.
San Diego becomes the deciding factor here.
The Dolphins and Patriots went 0-2 against their uncommon AFC opponents. The Dolphins lost to the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts.
So the only discrepancy becomes San Diego. Miami won 17-10 at Dolphin Stadium in Week 5. The next week, the Chargers crushed the Patriots, 30-10, in Qualcomm Stadium in the second game of a two-week West Coast trip.
So in effect, the beat-down the Chargers handed the Patriots in week 6 is what is keeping Billy B. and the New England Patriots at home...wow.