Riding a three-game winning streak, he New England Patriots entered Week 12 as the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture. In a tight conference race, however, every slip-up could be a costly one — and the Patriots found that out over the last few days.
After dropping their Thanksgiving game against the Minnesota Vikings to fall to 6-5 on the year, they saw the rest of the AFC’s playoff hopefuls all register victory. While one game is still left to be played in the conference, we already know that New England will end the week outside of the postseason ranks.
- Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)
- Miami Dolphins (8-3)
- Tennessee Titans (7-4)
- Baltimore Ravens (7-4)
- Buffalo Bills (8-3)
- New York Jets (7-4)
- Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
On the bubble: 8. New England Patriots (6-5), 9. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5), 10. Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1)
Not technically eliminated but let’s be real here: 11. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7), 12. Las Vegas Raiders (4-7), 13. Cleveland Browns (4-7), Pittsburgh Steelers (3-7), Denver Broncos (3-8), Houston Texans (1-9-1)
Ahead of Week 12, the Patriots’ chances of making the playoffs were calculated at 55 percent by FiveThirtyEight. Their 33-26 loss in Minnesota paired with their main rivals all celebrating victories, however, has decreased that number to 36 percent.
At the moment, eight other teams have better playoff odds than that. Kansas City (>99%), Buffalo (96%), Tennessee (95%), Baltimore (91%) and Miami (90%) are all virtually safe to make the postseason. Behind them, things are a bit more open with Cincinnati (73%) standing ahead of New York (51%), Los Angeles (39%), and New England.
The NFL playoff picture, meanwhile, looks as follows:
- Philadelphia Eagles (10-1)
- Minnesota Vikings (9-2)
- San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6)
- Dallas Cowboys (8-3)
- New York Giants (7-4)
- Washington Commanders (7-5)
Not technically eliminated but let’s be real here: 11. Green Bay Packers (4-8), 12. Carolina Panthers (4-8), 13. Arizona Cardinals (4-8), 14. New Orleans Saints (4-8), 15. Los Angeles Rams (3-8), 16. Chicago Bears (3-9)
There were little changes in the NFC over Thanksgiving, with the Commanders and Seahawks changing positions. What does stand out, though, is that the NFC South remains a mess: the Buccaneers are 5-6 and yet still the top team in the NFL’s worst division. That is good enough to make the playoffs as the No. 4 seed right now.