The New England Patriots returned to the win column in convincing fashion in Week 7, blowing out the New York Jets with a final score of 54-13 — the most lopsided game of the entire regular season so far. The Patriots left their division rivals no chance and as a result have now improved their record to 3-4 on the season.
While not enough to propel the team into the AFC playoff picture just yet, its first home victory of the season did help New England move up a couple of spots. The Patriots are therefore heading into a pivotal road matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers as the owners of the ninth overall seed.
- Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)
- Las Vegas Raiders (5-2)
- Tennessee Titans (5-2)
- Buffalo Bills (4-2)
- Baltimore Ravens (5-2)
- Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)
- Cleveland Browns (4-3)
On the bubble: 8. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3); 9. New England Patriots (3-4); 10. Indianapolis Colts (3-4); 11. Kansas City Chiefs (3-4); 12 Denver Broncos (3-4); 13. New York Jets (1-5); 14. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5); 15. Miami Dolphins (1-6); 16. Houston Texans (1-6)
The Patriots will not be able to move into the playoff picture in Week 8 regardless of whether they beat the Chargers or not. The Browns and Steelers are also facing off, after all, meaning that one of the two will still have a better record than New England even if the team returns to .500 for the first time since its Week 2 win over the Jets.
That said, the Patriots’ second victory against their AFC East rivals this season naturally put them in a much better position than they were in a week ago. Just take a look at how it impacted their playoff probability, as calculated by FiveThirtyEight.
While New England had only a 21 percent chance to make the postseason following last week’s overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the number has now jumped to 26 percent. It is still not great given that nine other AFC teams have better odds of making the playoffs, but the Patriots at the very least are headed in the right direction again.
As far as the NFC is concerned, its playoff picture currently looks as follows:
- Arizona Cardinals (7-0)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1)
- Green Bay Packers (6-1)
- Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
- Los Angeles Rams (6-1)
- New Orleans Saints (4-2)
- Minnesota Vikings (3-3)
On the bubble: 8. Atlanta Falcons (3-3); 9. Chicago Bears (3-4); 10. Carolina Panthers (3-4); 11. San Francisco 49ers (2-4); 12. Washington Football Team (2-5); 13. Philadelphia Eagles (2-5); 14. New York Giants (2-5); 15. Seattle Seahawks (2-5); 16. Detroit Lions (0-7)
The top of the NFC’s playoff picture remains unchanged seven weeks into the season, but some changes could be on the horizon: the Cardinals and Packers will face off on Thursday, which could give Green Bay an opportunity to make a run for the top seed in the conference. Likewise, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers could also solidify their position as a top-two team in the NFC (even though only the top team eventually earns a bye).