For the N.F.L. Playoffs, Much Has Changed. Then There Are the Patriots.

In the N.F.L.’s first game this season, the New England Patriots lost at home by 15 points. The Patriots defense gave up 42 points and 537 yards. Tom Brady did not throw a touchdown pass and was sacked three times.

Clearly, the Patriots’ dynastic romp through the N.F.L. was over. Right? It’s what everyone was saying the next morning.

That was when we should have known that the 2017 N.F.L. regular season would defy convention.

But did it?

The Patriots were 13-2 after their opening night flop. They have the home-field advantage throughout the A.F.C. half of the playoffs. They’re chugging along with boundless ease.

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