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Sitting at 6-5 after the first 12 weeks of the regular season, the New England Patriots are currently on the outside looking in in the AFC playoff picture. Their loss to the Minnesota Vikings last Thursday dropped them from the ranks of the postseason teams, moving them from the sixth to the eighth seed in a highly competitive division.
Of course, a look at the current AFC postseason picture shows that there is still a lot of potential for New England to move up and down the board
- Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)
- Miami Dolphins (8-3)
- Tennessee Titans (7-4)
- Baltimore Ravens (7-4)
- Buffalo Bills (8-3)
- Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
- New York Jets (7-4)
On the bubble: 8. New England Patriots (6-5), 9. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)
Not technically eliminated but let’s be real here: 10. Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1), 11. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7), 12. Las Vegas Raiders (4-7), 13. Cleveland Browns (4-7), 14. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-7), Denver Broncos (3-8), Houston Texans (1-9-1)
Realistically, he first nine teams in the AFC will be fighting for the seven available spots — meaning hat two of those clubs will not be making it into the tournament. At the moment, New England is among them and one game behind the qualifying teams.
The question — one that it is also being asked as part of this week’s SB Nation Reacts survey — is whether or not the Patriots will improve their position and make it into the playoffs after all. Given that there are still six games left to be played, including head-to-head contests against Buffalo (twice) and Cincinnati, the team has plenty of potential to improve its standings.
However, the numbers do not work in their favor. According to FiveThirtyEight, they have only a 37 percent chance of making it into the playoffs. This ranks them ninth in the AFC, with the Chargers (41%) leapfrogging them compared to the current standings.
It is not hard to see why that number is so low relative to the other top teams in the conference. The Patriots will be facing a tough schedule down the road, with the aforementioned games against the Bills and Bengals being accompanies by road contests versus the 4-8 Arizona Cardinals and 4-7 Raiders, as well as another game against the Dolphins.
All that being said, what do you think: will the Patriots make the playoffs?
To answer this question and others as part of this week’s survey, please make sure to fill out the following form. Also, keep an eye out for the results to be published ahead of the game against the Bills on Thursday night.
Finally, as always, please share your thoughts on all the questions as well as your personal answers in the comment section down below. Happy debating!