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Patriots ready to get Wild this weekend

01.06.10 at 12:37 pm ET
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The Patriots are in the playoffs. At 10-6, they will be playing during Wild Card Weekend for the first time since 2006. By the time the game is played it’ll have been three years since the last Wild Card appearance for the Pats. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five memorable Wild Card Weekend moments in Patriots history.

1985 – Patriots vs. Jets

This game put to rest any doubt of the Patriots as a team to contend with in 1985. On October 20th, the Pats beat the Jets in a close game at home, 20-13. After that, the Pats went on a 7-2 run to close out the season. In the game, Andre Tippett racked up five sacks while the Pats offense and special teams combined for 26 points. The game is of note because it was the first playoff game played at Giants Stadium and it was the first playoff win for the Patriots in 22 years. The team would go on to beat Oakland and Miami before being crushed by the “Super Bowl ShuffleChicago Bears in the Super Bowl.

2006 – Patriots vs. Jets

This Wild Card game is interesting because it was Eric Mangini’s first year as a head coach. In that first year, he led the Jets to a 10-6 record including a defeat of the Patriots at Gillette seven weeks earlier. Highlights include Rosevelt Colvin deflecting a screen pass that the referees ruled a lateral. Vince Wilfork picked up the ball and rumbled for 25 yards before being caught by Nick Mangold, the only player on the field besides Wilfork to play to the whistle.

2005 – Patriots vs. Jaguars

The 12-4 Jaguars came into the Razor in January and weren’t prepared for the Pats defensive assault. Willie McGinest damn near played his position in the Jaguars backfield, setting a single game postseason record with 4.5 sacks. Asante Samuel capped off the game when he intercepted a Byron Leftwich pass and took it 73 yards for a score. Let’s not forget the Jags poor tackling which allowed Ben Watson to break a drive-ending tackle and sprint 63 yards for a touchdown. In the Divisional Playoffs that year, the Pats lost to Denver, ending their title defense.

The Patriots haven’t always enjoyed success during Wild Card Weekend. There were some years when the first week of the playoffs wasn’t so kind.

1994 – Patriots vs. Browns

This was a close game, with neither team able to pull away until the fourth quarter. In fact, with under two minutes to play, the Pats put together a 63-yard drive ending in a score and recovered the ensuing onside kick and looked to be moving in for the win. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw four incomplete passes to end the game and the Pats’ season.

1998 – Patriots vs. Jaguars

In this game against the Jaguars the Patriots played without Bledsoe, Terry Glenn or Ted Johnson. Their missing presence was felt as the Pats failed to score in the first half. Despite a rally sparked by backup quarterback Scott Zolak that cut the Jaguars lead to two at 12-10 it was too little too late as Jacksonville’s offense responded by scoring a touchdown and their defense forced a Patriots fumble.

Much like 1998, the Pats are looking at the second season with key players banged up and one unable to play. Sure, the team still has several weapons on offense and the defense beginning to solidify, but going without the league leader in receptions is tough for any team. Even without Wes Welker the Pats are still formidable and will make Wild Card Weekend worth watching.