Patriots Playoff Picture Changes

The Buffalo Bills victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday opened the door for the Patriots to have an outside chance for the number 3 seed in the playoffs. The higher seed would put the Patriots on a path going through Denver rather than Indianapolis in the Division round of the playoffs. Here are some possible scenarios leading up to tonight's game.

 

Why is it important for the Patriots to win tonight? Playoff seeding is the short answer. Having a chance to play Indianapolis in the Championship round is another. The number three seed offers a better chance for the Patriots to have more than one home game in the playoffs, assuming Denver and Indianapolis both lose and the Patriots continue to win.

Here are the possible scenarios where the Patriots could achieve the #3 seed based on league tiebreaking procedures:
*(NFL Tiebreaking procedure : link)

If Patriots lose OR Bengals win - Patriots get #4 seed and host Jaguars
If Patriots beat Jets and Miami 11-5 and Bengals Lose - goes to tiebreakers
NFL Tiebreaker rules #3. To determine home-field priority among division titlists, apply Wild-Card tie breakers.

Scenario 1:
Chiefs (10-6) beat Bengals (11-5) AND Steelers win or Steelers lose (10-6) and Chargers win (10-6)
*tiebreaker would eliminate KC if Steelers, Chargers and Chiefs end up tied

1 Indy (bye)
2 Denver (bye)
3 PATRIOTS (11-5) (win tiebreakers over Cincy)
4 Bengals (11-5)
5 Jaguars (regardless they have #5 seed)
6 Steelers

Patriots host Steelers
Bengals host Jaguars

 

Scenario #2
Chiefs (10-6) beat Bengals (11-5), Steelers lose (10-6), Chargers lose (9-7)
*tiebreaker would eliminate Steelers if tied with Chiefs end and Chargers lose

1 Indy
2 Denver
3 PATRIOTS (11-5) (win tiebreakers over Cincy)
4 Bengals (11-5)
5 Jaguars (regardless they have #5 seed)
6 Chiefs (win tie breaker with steelers)

Patriots host Chiefs
Bengals host Jaguars

 

Scenario #3
Bengals beat Chiefs - other games don't matter for Patriots or Steelers seeding.

1 Indy
2 Denver
3 Bengals (12-4)
4 PATRIOTS (11-5)
5 Jaguars (regardless they have #5 seed)
6 Steelers

Patriots host Jaguars
Bengals host Steelers

 

After the game we'll bring you updated playoff scenarios. In the meantime, discuss the game with fans in the forums: here


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