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Pats Pulpit Reacts: Fans not optimistic about Patriots’ playoff outlook

Related: NFL playoff picture: Patriots’ postseason hopes take a hit in Week 12

New England Patriots (26) Vs. Minnesota Vikings (33) At U.S. Bank Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Entering a pivotal Week 13 matchup with the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots are on the outside looking in in the AFC playoff race.

Standing at 6-5, they are currently the eighth seed in the conference. They are one game behind the final wild card spots occupied by a pair of 7-4 teams — the sixth-seeded Cincinnati Bengals and seventh-seeded New York Jets — and there is little optimism that they will overtake at least one of them to make it into the tournament after all.

The latest SB Nation Reacts survey, after all, asked fans to share their thoughts: Would New England make it into the postseason when all is said and done, or not?

At the moment, only one third of fans think the team will end up in the playoffs: 32 percent of participants picked the positive answer, with 68 going the other direction.

Thursday’s game against the Bills will not decide the team’s fate — there are still five more games to be played afterwards — but it could go a long way toward establishing the Patriots as a realistic postseason contender. And while only 32 percent of fans currently see them that way, a full 51 percent are confident in the team’s direction.

That number actually is an 11-point increase compared to Week 12. Despite New England losing its Thanksgiving game in Minnesota, the team apparently showed enough to lead to some increased positivity; it is probably no stretch of the imagination that an improved offensive outing played a part in this.

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