|ESPN.com: AFC East||[Print without images]|
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots aren't going away.
In fact, they're looming more than they have all season.
The Patriots went into Sunday the only team among the AFC East-leading threesome not in control of their own destiny, but they remain very much a factor after walloping the Arizona Cardinals 47-7 in the snow globe that was Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots are 10-5 and play the Buffalo Bills in next week's season finale. While the Patriots could win 11 games and not make the playoffs, the Cardinals are 8-7 and have ensured their spot by clinching the harmless NFC West.
The Patriots could become the first 11-win club to miss the postseason since the NFL adopted its current format in 1990 if the Baltimore Ravens beat the Jacksonville Jaguars as expected next week to finish 11-5 and both the Jets and Dolphins win today.
The Ravens hold the tiebreaker and would take the second wild-card berth. The Indianapolis Colts earned the first wild-card entry.
LaMont Jordan scored touchdowns on New England's first two series, and Matt Cassel outplayed the MVP candidate and the Heisman-winning glamour boy he used to back up at Southern California.
Cassel's phenomenal season continued. He completed 20 of 36 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.