No one thought it would happen the first time. Certainly not the second. And if the Patriots [team stats] are summarily booted out of the playoffs tonight for the third straight year, it won’t be considered a charm.
One-and-done doesn’t help the cause. It doesn’t boost the Patriots’ current portfolio as an elite team that — year after year — posts one of the best regular-season records in the NFL. So with the skeletons of two straight early exits already tucked in their closet, the Patriots want nothing more than to end the misery here.