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The Patriots loss to the Dolphins has very little impact on the mega-matchup with the Steelers

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It might have felt good when the Patriots lost to the Dolphins on Monday night, but it really won't make a huge impact on this Sunday's tilt against the Steelers at Heinz Field.

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Have you heard? The Patriots lost to the Jay Cutler-led Dolphins on Monday Night Football.

Yay, right?

Not really.

I mean, it's always good when New England loses a game, because it's New England, and everyone hates New England.

How many times can a person say "New England" in one little sentence?

You talk about an obsessed writer.

Anyway, maybe your source of happiness about the Patriots losing their third game of the season (dropping to 10-3, one game behind Pittsburgh in the race for the top seed) is because of, well, what I just said throughout this particular paragraph/run-on sentence.

That's right, the Steelers now control their own destiny (or is it fate?) as it pertains to grabbing every playoff advantage a team could hope for once January rolls around.

But didn't the Steelers control all of that, anyway?

That was a rhetorical question, because they did.

Even if the Patriots had defeated Miami to set-up an 11-2. vs. 11-2 mega-matchup for the ages on Sunday, Pittsburgh would still have been in the pole position for the race for top seed in the AFC.

But wouldn't the Patriots have been in the exact same pole position, too?

Again, that's rhetorical, because, yes, absolutely.

And guess what? Even at 10-3 and one game behind the Steelers, New England still controls its own fate and is in the pole position for the AFC's top seed, even as it licks its wounds after being picked apart by a quarterback who has a bunch of photo-shopped pictures floating around the Internet portraying him smoking cigarettes in uniform.

Even at 10-3, if New England wins out, they will take the top seed based on: a) owning the tiebreaker over the Steelers, and, b) owning a better record than the Jaguars.

You might say, "Well, Mr. Defeo, what about if the Steelers win this week? Wouldn't they have a two-game lead over the Patriots with just two to go, thus eliminating them from top seed-contention?

Yes, but then there's the matter of Jacksonville, who, if it wins out, can finish 12-4.

Based on that 30-9 thrashing at the hands of those Jaguars way back in Week 5, Pittsburgh must finish one game ahead of them in order not to lose the head-to-head tiebreaker.

So, even if the Steelers win this week to all but eliminate New England from the top seed, unless Jacksonville loses, nothing would be officially clinched.

I know what you're going to say. Yes, if Pittsburgh wins and Jacksonville, in fact, loses, the Steelers will have accomplished all that they needed to during the 2017 regular season.

True, but that likely would have been the case, even if the Patriots came into Heinz Field at 11-2.

I mean, not officially, mind you. The Steelers' would still have had to win one of their final two games, but, let's be honest, if you can't beat the Texans and/or the Browns, you probably ain't going to the Super Bowl, even if you had a bye all the way to the AFC Championship game.

The only positive to come out of the Patriots’ loss on Monday is this: if the Steelers wrap everything up this Sunday, they’ll be able to rest as many starters as they desire over the final two weeks.

But, if I know my 2017 Steelers fans like I think I do, that might only be spun into a "Now, they'll be too rusty come playoff time!" negative.

Anyway, I hope it happens because I want to write a bunch of smart-ass, antagonistic articles over the next few weeks that mostly have to do with Landry Jones.

Lastly, to sum it all up, not much was gained by the Patriots losing in Week 14, other than some schadenfreude for Steelers fans.