clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL playoff picture: Patriots continue to move up the AFC standings

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 45-7 win over Browns

NFL: Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots continue to be one of the hottest squads in the NFL right now. Hosting the Cleveland Browns in a battle of 5-4 teams, they left their opponent no chance and celebrated a 45-7 win. The Patriots therefore continue moving up in the AFC standings, with their 6-4 record now good enough to earn them the sixth playoff seed in the conference.

As can be seen, though, New England is neither too far behind the rest of the top teams in the AFC nor significantly ahead of those behind them:

  1. Tennessee Titans (8-2)
  2. Buffalo Bills (6-3)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (6-3)
  4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3-1)
  6. New England Patriots (6-4)
  7. Los Angeles Chargers (5-4)

On the bubble: 8. Cincinnati Bengals (5-4), 9. Las Vegas Raiders (5-4), 10. Indianapolis Colts (5-5), 11. Cleveland Browns (5-5), 12. Denver Broncos (5-5), 13. Miami Dolphins (3-7), 14. New York Jets (2-7), 15. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-7), 16. Houston Texans (1-8)

Not yet having enjoyed their bye week, New England resides in the sixth seed at the moment. However, the team would stay ahead of the Chargers, Bengals and Raiders even if those three clubs would tie its record at one point: at 5-1, the Patriots are tied for the best conference record in the AFC, which gives them an important tiebreaking advantage over their rivals in the playoff hunt.

Accordingly, the odds work very much in New England’s favor when it comes to them at least making it into the playoff tournament (via FiveThirtyEight):

AFC playoff odds: Week 11

Team Make playoffs Win division First-round bye Win Super Bowl
Team Make playoffs Win division First-round bye Win Super Bowl
Titans >99% >99% 75% 16%
Bills 92% 74% 9% 11%
Chiefs 82% 52% 2% 7%
Patriots 74% 26% 5% 4%
Ravens 74% 48% 4% 4%
Chargers 63% 34% 3% 3%
Colts 46% 0.4% <0.1% 1%
Browns 39% 18% <0.1% 1%
Steelers 39% 17% 1% 1%
Bengals 38% 16% 1.0% 0.8%
Raiders 28% 6% 0.3% 0.4%
Broncos 21% 7% <0.1% 0.3%
Dolphins 4% 0.1% <0.1% <0.1%
Jets 0.1% <0.1% <0.1% <0.1%
Jaguars 0.1% <0.1% <0.1% <0.1%
Texans <0.1% <0.1% <0.1% <0.1%
FiveThirtyEight

As can be seen, only three teams — the Titans, Bills and Chiefs — have better odds to reach the playoffs than the Patriots right now.

With New England still playing Tennessee in Week 12 and Buffalo in Weeks 13 and 16, however, the team has considerable potential to not only improve its chances to earn one of the seven postseason seeds in the AFC but also to improve it significantly. Kansas City, meanwhile, will only play teams at .500 or better the rest of the way.

Long story short: everything is still possible for the Patriots, and they have it in their own power to keep making noise in the AFC.


The NFC playoff picture, on the other hand, looks as follows:

  1. Green Bay Packers (8-2)
  2. Arizona Cardinals (8-2)
  3. Dallas Cowboys (7-2)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3)
  5. Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
  6. New Orleans Saints (5-4)
  7. Carolina Panthers (5-5)

On the bubble: 8. Minnesota Vikings (4-5), 9. San Francisco 49ers (4-5), 10. Atlanta Falcons (4-5), 11. Philadelphia Eagles (4-6), 12. Washington Football Team (3-6), 13. New York Giants (3-6), 14. Seattle Seahawks (3-6), 15. Chicago Bears (3-6), 16. Detroit Lions (0-8-1)

The NFC playoff picture was shaken up a bit thanks to five teams in last week’s top-seven suffering losses. The Cardinals, Buccaneers, Saints and Falcons were all defeated in Week 10, with the latter falling out of the playoff picture entirely. Meanwhile, the Panthers and recently signed ex-Patriots quarterback Cam Newton have now moved up into the seventh seed after a decisive 34-10 win in Arizona.

The race for the top seed, and the final wild card spots, remains a close one.