The New England Patriots’ 24-3 loss against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night all but ended their hopes of eventually making the playoffs after all. Despite being 6-7, though, there is still a mathematical chance for the Patriots to advance to the tournament after the regular season: according to FiveThirtyEight, New England currently has a 4 percent chance of making the tournament. Today’s rooting guide has therefore still an eye on the postseason.
If you want to stream today’s games, make sure to give fuboTV a try.
1:00 pm ET
Go good game! The game itself will not have much of an impact on the Patriots’ playoff odds, even though a Denver victory would help improve the team’s strength of schedule tiebreaker.
Go Bears! This is essentially the same scenario as in the Broncos-Panthers game. A win by either team would not change New England’s chances of making the playoffs one way or the other. That said, Chicago improving to 6-7 might impact the Patriots’ draft spot in case they fail to make the playoffs after all.
Go Bengals! The game has no impact on New England’s playoff odds, but it could help the team in the 2021 draft. The Patriots, after all, own the Cowboys’ sixth-round pick next year due to the Michael Bennett trade. A Cincinnati win would push Dallas to 3-10 and keep the selection pretty early in Round Six.
Go Jaguars! A Jacksonville loss would be the preferred outcome from the Patriots’ perspective when looking to the race for the number one overall draft pick next spring, but when it comes to playoff implications fans should root for a different result: a Tennessee defeat would improve New England’s odds from currently 4 to 6 percent, while a win by Mike Vrabel’s club would drop them down to 3 percent.
Go Chiefs! A Dolphins win would eliminate the Patriots from AFC East contention and also drop their playoff hopes down to 2 percent. Likewise, a Chiefs victory would help them in both areas regardless of how likely positive outcomes eventually are in the end: if Kansas City wins, New England’s playoff hopes would jump to 5 percent (division odds would stay unchanged at <1 percent).
Go Cardinals! An Arizona win would improve the Patriots’ strength of victory tiebreaker. While it seems unlikely the team will eventually need it, every positive development it can get is a victory at this point.
Go Buccaneers! The game has no implication on the Patriots’ playoff standings, so rooting for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski is the way to go.
4:05 pm ET
Go Colts! While a Raiders win would leave New England’s postseason odds unchanged, they would improve to 5 percent in case Indianapolis comes away victoriously. Rooting for a Colts victory feels wrong, but it is the best outcome from the Patriots’ point of view.
Go Jets! The only reason to root for the Jets here is because of the number one overall draft pick next offseason. A New York victory would hurt their chances at ending up with it and thus drafting generational quarterback talent Trevor Lawrence.
4:25 pm ET
Go Lions! The NFC North matchup has no impact on New England’s playoff odds, but a Detroit victory might help the team when it comes to draft positioning later on.
Go good game! Neither team’s victory would change the Patriots’ playoff odds or current draft positioning, for that matter. Rooting for the good game is the way to go.
Go good game! See Falcons-Chargers above.
Go good game! Both teams are essentially in a competition for draft slots, but one of them will eventually have to fall to 5-8. Frankly, it doesn’t matter which team it is.
8:20 pm ET
Go Steelers! Rooting for Pittsburgh may feel wrong, but it would help improve New England’s odds at eventually ending up in the playoffs or even winning the AFC East at least a bit: a Steelers win would move playoff odds up from 4 to 5 percent and AFC East odds from up to 1 percent. If Buffalo wins, however, the Patriots’ odds at both happening drop to 3 and 0 percent, respectively. That’s right, a Bills win would officially end New England’s consecutive division titles streak even though it would not secure Buffalo the division crown just yet.