When the Patriots open the playoffs on January 13, it will be their fifth straight Saturday night playoff opener. Since 2001, the Patriots have always opened the playoffs at home and are 9-0 when opening the playoffs on a Saturday.
Prior to this season, the Patriots received first-round byes in 11 of their 14 playoff appearances since 2001. They have opened the playoffs at home after a bye week on a Saturday in eight out those 11 playoff runs. The Patriots won all eight of those Saturday night games. With an extra day of rest, they also went on to win the AFC Championship in six of those eight seasons. The Patriots are just 1-2 in the Brady Era AFC Championship games that came after a Sunday victory in the divisional round.
The only Saturday night playoff loss for the Patriots in the Brady Era came after the 2005 season, a divisional round game at Denver. The only one-and-dones of the Brady Era – 2009 and 2010 – came when the Patriots opened the playoffs on a Sunday.
Despite Brady’s late-season struggles, it’s hard to look at these stats and not like New England’s chances to repeat. While Minnesota in February might not sound as appealing as Miami, the forecast inside U.S. Bank Stadium for February 4 should be 72 and clear.