AFC playoff picture: What needs to happen for Patriots to make postseason


Things are not looking good for the Patriots.

It started with their loss to the Rams last Thursday night and although they got some help from other teams on Sunday, they didn’t Monday night when Baltimore beat Cleveland in a thriller.

The Patriots are currently 6-7 and two games behind the Dolphins at 8-5 for the final wild card spot in the AFC.

Here’s what the standings look like after Week 14 and what the Patriots need to have happen to make the playoffs.

1. Kansas City (12-1)
Remaining games: at New Orleans, vs. Atlanta, vs. Los Angeles (Chargers)

2. Pittsburgh (11-2)
Remaining games: at Cincinnati, vs. Indianapolis, at Cleveland

3. Buffalo (10-3)
Remaining games: at Denver, at New England, vs. Miami

4. Tennessee (9-4)
Remaining games: vs. Detroit, at Green Bay, at Houston

5. Cleveland (9-4)
Remaining games: at New York (Giants), at New York (Jets), vs. Pittsburgh

6. Indianapolis (9-4)
Remaining games: vs. Houston, at Pittsburgh, vs. Jacksonville

7. Miami (8-5)
Remaining games: vs. New England, at Las Vegas, at Buffalo

8. Baltimore (8-5)
Remaining games: vs. Jacksonville, vs. New York (Giants), at Cincinnati

9. Las Vegas (7-6)
Remaining games: vs. Los Angeles (Chargers), vs. Miami, at Denver

10. Patriots (6-7)
Remaining games: at Miami, vs. Buffalo, vs. New York (Jets)

ANALYSIS: According to FiveThirtyEight, the Patriots currently have a 2% chance of making the playoffs. They need to win their final three games and then get a ton of help. The Patriots need to have three of the following five happen: Browns lose final three games, Colts or Titans lose final three games, Dolphins lose at least two of final three games, Ravens lose at least two of final three games and Raiders lose at least one of final three games. Baltimore’s win over Cleveland really did go a long way, as its schedule is the easiest in the AFC the rest of the way and it’s now really hard to see them losing two games the rest of the way. The Patriots say they will remain focused on what they can control and that starts with taking care of business against the Dolphins this Sunday.

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