The New England Patriots suffered a tough 22-18 loss at home to the Cincinnati Bengals and their chances of making the playoffs are even more complicated.
The team needed to win this game to recoup some ground on the wild card fight with the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Chargers. Now, their mission is incredibly difficult.
After Saturday’s loss, New England has a 7-8 record and can be eliminated from the playoffs if the Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Chargers win their games on Sunday and Monday, respectively.
Here are the scenarios where the Patriots can pull off a miracle and book a playoff spot following Saturday’s loss.
Interested in betting? The Miami Dolphins are favorites against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday
Playoff scenarios for New England. Are the Patriots out of the playoffs?
The Patriots can still qualify for the playoffs, but they’ll have to rely on luck in the next couple of days. If the Dolphins or the Chargers win any of their remaining games against other AFC teams, New England will be officially eliminated from postseason contention.
The Miami Dolphins and the Los Angeles Chargers currently hold the final two wild-card spots with an 8-6 record. If the season ended today, New England would have the 16th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The only way that New England can still qualify for the playoffs is if they win both their remaining games, the Dolphins lose to the Jets (and the Patriots a week before) and the Chargers lose to the Colts and the Broncos. This would give New England a tiebreaker advantage because of their conference record.
New England cannot win the AFC East anymore, as the Buffalo Bills sit atop with a 12-3 record. They have already clinched the division.
New England Patriots schedule after Week 16
The Patriots have two games remaining in their 2022 regular season schedule. They will play the Miami Dolphins on New Year’s Day at home before traveling to Buffalo to close out the season against the Bills.
Considering that New England have to win both games to qualify for the playoffs, an away game against the Bills is the worst possible scenario for the team in Week 18. With Josh Allen & Co. still fighting for the top seed in the AFC, this will be viewed as a crucial game for Buffalo, who have a much better team.