New England is peaking in time for the postseason, crushing Arizona 47-7 with a blizzard of points on a snow-covered field Sunday.
It won't keep the Cardinals out of the playoffs. And it might not be enough to get the Patriots in.
Showing vast superiority to the struggling champions of the weak NFC West, the Patriots pressured Kurt Warner into one of his worst games in 11 pro seasons as he threw for just 30 yards.
The Cardinals' defense was as miserable as the weather, allowing the Patriots to score on nine of their 10 possessions before Matt Cassel got the rest of the game off.
New England (10-5) held a huge margin of 514 to 186 yards.
Cassel completed 20 of 36 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns a week after throwing for four touchdowns in a 49-26 win at Oakland.
Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, who kept Cassel on the bench for his last two seasons at Southern California after Carson Palmer did it for his first two, replaced Warner with 3:27 left in the third quarter. He went 6-of-14 for 138 yards with an interception, a fumble and a 78-yard touchdown on which Larry Fitzgerald ran most of the way to cut the lead to 47-7 with 6:17 left.
New England clinched a better record than Arizona -- which is 8-7, but 2-6 against winning teams -- but could miss the playoffs for the first time in six years.
The Patriots began the day tied for the AFC East lead with Miami and the New York Jets. Baltimore (10-5) has the tiebreaker edge over the Patriots for the conference's one available wild-card spot.
If the Patriots win at Buffalo next Sunday, they still may become the second team to miss the postseason with an 11-5 record since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978.
Warner, with receiver Anquan Boldin out with a shoulder injury, went 6-of-18 for 30 yards, the fewest in any game in which he started and threw at least 10 passes. His previous low was 105 yards in a loss at Seattle on Sept. 25, 2005.
The snow began falling steadily about four hours before the game and tapered off about the time Randy Moss scored on a 76-yard pass play, the longest of Cassel's career, on the second snap of the third quarter. Cassel faked a handoff then turned and threw to Moss on the left near the line of scrimmage.
He accelerated up the sideline and slowed to a trot as he approached the end zone with his longest gain in two seasons with the Patriots.
That gave them a 38-0 lead before Stephen Gostkowski kicked three of his four field goals.
LaMont Jordan scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards on the Patriots first two possessions. They punted on their next series, then scored on their next four on Cassel's passes of 15 yards to Kevin Faulk and 11 yards to Wes Welker, Gostkowski's 38-yard field goal and Moss's touchdown.
The most trouble the Patriots seemed to have with the snow came when Welker was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for making a snow angel just beyond the end line of the end zone after his touchdown as the Patriots jumped into a 28-0 lead with 1:52 left in the half.