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“Belichick’s Gamble: Patriots’ Draft Moves Set to Shake Jets Game and Future!”

The next few days will determine the direction of the Patriots' next chapter

On Sunday at Gillette Stadium, the New England Patriots and the New York Jets square off as two teams that will not be making the playoffs in the NFL. To put it plainly like that, in the overall scheme of NFL history, it was essentially a nonentity.

But as everyone knows, Sunday’s game in Foxboro, Mass., involves much more than just the two teams that finished the season with a combined 10 victories.

In addition to the looming possibility of snow being dumped on the region, Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game represents a potentially massive day in the history of the Patriots. Because of New England’s undeniable nosedive this season, the low-point culmination of a march to futility that accelerated when Tom Brady went to Tampa Bay, Sunday could be Bill Belichick’s final day in charge of the Patriots.

By now, we’re all familiar with all the reports. Belichick’s future with the club is very much in doubt. After a 24-year run that included six Super Bowl titles, it might finally be time for the Patriots to move on (even though it might be a while before we know that for sure).

As NESN.com’s Ricky Doyle pointed out this week on “The Spread,” NESN’s football picks podcast, the draft implications of Sunday’s contest are huge, too. It’s technically still possible for the four-win Patriots to “earn” the No. 2 pick in the draft. Theoretically, that selection would allow them to take a new franchise quarterback to build around moving forward.

On the other hand, should they triumph, the Patriots might drop to No. 7, where they might miss out on a possible QB rush. It is Belichick’s area of expertise. He has no intention of tanking, especially with the Jets, his greatest opponent, positioned across the pitch and no assurance that he will return after Sunday.

“Anything that occurs on Sunday has the potential to alter the course of events here,” Doyle declared to cohost Mike Cole this week.

On the other hand, should they triumph, the Patriots might drop to No. 7, where they might miss out on a possible QB rush. It is Belichick’s area of expertise. He has no intention of tanking, especially with the Jets, his greatest opponent, positioned across the pitch and no assurance that he will return after Sunday.

“Anything that occurs on Sunday has the potential to alter the course of events here,” Doyle declared to cohost Mike Cole this week.

The betting public certainly is buying this notion, too. According to BetMGM data and PR specialist John Ewing, the Patriots are one of the most popular sides this week. Only the Chiefs and Texans are taking a higher percentage of bets in their respective games than New England, which is getting 79% of the bets in its matchup with New York at BetMGM. It might be a different story with sharp bettors, though. Despite the heavy action, there hasn’t been a ton of movement off the opening line of the Patriots being favored by 1.5 points.

Typically, that doesn’t bode well for the public. But the case for New England is hard to deny, regardless of what a win Sunday would mean for the franchise moving forward.

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