The New England Patriots have spent much of this season looking distinctly un-Patriot-like. They’ve lost to good teams, struggled to move the ball and, in the strangest twist, Tom Brady has actually looked his age. (He’s 42, which is a very normal age for adult humans and a very abnormal age for adult humans playing quarterback in the NFL.)

But the long-term implications of those issues were easy to ignore because they were still 12-3 going into the final Sunday of the season. All they had to do was beat the lowly Miami Dolphins…

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