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Patriots Playoff Scenarios: Patriots Can Clinch AFC East, Bye Next Week

With a win coupled with a Dolphins loss next week, the Patriots can clinch both the AFC East and at least the #2 seed in the AFC.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots obliterated the Los Angeles Rams this afternoon in a game that wasn't even that close. A few miles down I-95, the Baltimore Ravens obliterated the Miami Dolphins to end their win streak and bring the team down to earth. With those two results, Week 14 just got a lot more interesting.

The Patriots host the Ravens on Monday night next week, which means that they will go into that game knowing the result of Sunday's matchup between the Dolphins and Cardinals. If the Dolphins lose that game, the Patriots will have the opportunity to not only clinch the AFC East next week, but wrap up a 1st round bye as well.

Patriots clinch AFC East and 1st round bye with: NE win + MIA loss

If New England beats the Ravens, they will move to 11-2 on the year, meaning the worst they can finish is 11-5. A Miami loss would put them at 7-6 and a 10-6 finish as their best possible outcome. Even if the Bills win today against the Raiders to move to 7-5, the Patriots own enough tiebreakers over Buffalo to take the division no matter what the Bills do going forward.

The Patriots would also lock up at least a two seed next week with a win and a Dolphins loss, as 11-5 will be enough this year to guarantee a bye based on how the AFC is shaking out this year. We'll break down all the tiebreaker scenarios later on this week, but just know that things are falling well for New England thus far in Week 13.

Baltimore will be a tough matchup for sure, but there's a chance that the game has serious implications.