FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — All the New England Patriots need to gain home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs is a win or tie against the struggling Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
It didn’t do the Patriots much good the past two years.
Last season, they earned the conference’s top seed, but were stunned 28-21 in their first game by the New York Jets who sacked Tom Brady five times. The previous season, they lost the wild-card game, 33-14 to the Baltimore Ravens in front of their own fans who booed them in the first quarter.
Home-field advantage? Not if you play poorly.
Patriots defensive end Shaun Ellis was with the Jets last season and had two sacks in the playoff win over the Patriots.
Still, “It’s very important to be able to play all your games at home with your home fans behind you,” he said Thursday. “It’s a good thing, but you’ve got to win those games, too.”