What shedding to the Payments means for the Patriots’ playoff outlook

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Associated: Prompt evaluation from Patriots’ 33-21 loss to Payments

The scenario was fairly straight-forward for the New England Patriots heading into their Week 16 matchup with the Buffalo Payments. A win over their AFC East rivals would have put them at 10-5 and straight on the trail to reclaiming the division title, primarily securing a top-four seed within the AFC playoff image alongside the way in which.

The Patriots, nevertheless, didn’t beat the Payments. Three weeks after their 14-10 victory on the street, they have been defeated at residence with a last rating of 33-21. Buffalo dominated the competition from begin to end, and has now overtaken New England within the standings.

With that stated, let’s take a deeper dive into what the loss means for the Patriots and their postseason outlook.

Had they Patriots crushed the Payments on Sunday, their odds at profitable the division would have jumped from 66 to 99 p.c, in response to FiveThirtyEight. The loss, nevertheless, primarily sealed their destiny: they won’t take again the AFC East this season, with their probabilities of doing that now calculated at solely 11 p.c.

The Patriots, in any case, have two issues working in opposition to them. Not solely have they got the more serious division document — Buffalo is 4-1 and New England 3-2 — in addition they have a more difficult street forward.

Whereas the Patriots will host the 2-13 Jacksonville Jaguars subsequent Sunday earlier than a visit to the 7-7 Miami Dolphins (as of Sunday afternoon), the Payments will play the 7-8 Atlanta Falcons and 4-11 New York Jets at residence. Buffalo profitable each these video games to complete at 11-6 is the anticipated end result. That document can be sufficient for the crew to remain forward of New England if the Patriots additionally win out to finish the common season 11-6.

That being stated, second place within the division isn’t locked up both. The aforementioned Dolphins, in any case, have gained six straight. They are going to shut out the season in opposition to some difficult opponents, nevertheless: Miami will go to the 7-7 New Orleans Saints and 10-5 Tennessee Titans in back-to-back weeks earlier than internet hosting New England.

Theoretically, although, that Week 18 matchup would possibly resolve who ends the season as runner-ups within the AFC East.

Coming into Week 16 because the No. 2 seed within the AFC, the Patriots have been one recreation all the way down to the top-seeded Kansas Metropolis Chiefs. Now, nevertheless, they’re all however out of the race for the highest seed and first-round playoff bye — and never simply that.

Their loss to the Payments has dropped the Patriots all the way in which all the way down to the sixth place within the convention. There are 4 groups with an identical 9-6 information, however New England is the bottom ranked amongst them: the Cincinnati Bengals and the Payments are available at No. 3 and No. 4 as a result of they lead their respective divisions; the Indianapolis Colts personal the head-to-head tiebreaker in opposition to the Patriots after beating them final Saturday.

New England due to this fact has settled at No. 6 for now, however three groups are in hanging distance: the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas Raiders are all 8-7. They may overtake the Patriots and push them out of the playoffs altogether within the subsequent two weeks.

Nonetheless, New England’s postseason odds are calculated at a robust 96 p.c even after shedding to the Payments. How come? The Patriots’ 7-3 convention document remains to be tied for the most effective within the AFC and thus a giant benefit to have.

The Ravens are 5-6 in AFC matchups; the Chargers are 5-5 and have misplaced the head-to-head battle in opposition to the Patriots; the Raiders are 6-4. Despite the fact that the latter have the most effective convention document, they’re ranked decrease than the Chargers and Ravens because of head-to-head battles: Baltimore beat Los Angeles, which beat Las Vegas.

Overtaking the Patriots will due to this fact be powerful for all three of them, which means that New England nonetheless seems to be headed for the wild card spherical. Clearly, although, profitable a minimum of one of many final two video games is essential to make that occur.

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