NFL playoffs: Patriots out to improve unimpressive wild card record

The New England Patriots may have the best win rate in the NFL playoffs, but their record in the wild card round is distinctly underwhelming.

NFL playoffs: Patriots out to improve unimpressive wild card record
Mark Brown AFP

Thanks to head coach Bill Belichick, and former star Tom Brady, the New England Patriots have established themselves as one of the NFL’s dominant forces since the turn of the millennium - a status amply illustrated by their record in the playoffs.

After all, the Patriots now have more wins in playoff games (37) and a better victory percentage (.638) in the postseason than any other team in the league.

Patriots have 50% win rate in wild card round under Belichick

However, the wild card round has proved something of a bête noire for the Pats, who take on the Buffalo Bills in the opening stage of the 2021/22 playoffs on Saturday.

In the 21 seasons since Belichick took over, New England are 30-11 in the postseason - a record that has enabled them to win six Super Bowls, in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Yet in their four appearances in the wild card round under their long-serving coach, the Patriots are 2-2.

New England’s two wild card wins under Belichick came in 2005 and 2006, against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets, respectively. Since then, they have lost out at the wild card stage to the Baltimore Ravens in 2009 and the Tennessee Titans in 2019.

Patriots have negative all-time record in wild card round

And prior to Belichick’s arrival at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots’ wild card record was even worse. Before 2000, New England were involved in the round five times following its introduction in the 1978 season, winning twice and losing three times.

That leaves the Pats with an all-time wild card record of 4-5.

The Patriots’ three pre-Belichick wild card defeats came against the Miami Dolphins (1982), the Cleveland Browns (1994) and the Jaguars (1998), while their two wins were against the Jets in 1985 and the Dolphins in 1997.

Patriots' wild card round record

Year Won/lost Opponent Score
1982 Lost Miami Dolphins 28-13
1985 Won New York Jets 26-14
1994 Lost Cleveland Browns 20-13
1997 Won Miami Dolphins 17-13
1998 Lost Jacksonville Jaguars 25-10
2005 Won Jacksonville Jaguars 28-3
2006 Won New York Jets 37-16
2009 Lost Baltimore Ravens 33-14
2019 Lost Tennessee Titans 20-13

Patriots vs Bills: how and where to watch

The New England Patriots take on the Buffalo Bills in the 2021/22 NFL playoffs wild card round at Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, on Saturday 15 January 2022 at 8:15pm ET/5:15pm PT.

TV viewers in the US will be able to watch the game on CBS.

You’ll also be able to follow live-text coverage of the Patriots vs the Bills right here at AS USA.