Entering their upcoming Week 15 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, the New England Patriots are in possession of the final wild card spot in the AFC. At 7-6, however, the current No. 7 seed in the conference is tied with two other teams: the Los Angeles Chargers and New York Jets own the same record, losing out only on tiebreakers for now.
Given the closeness of the playoff race, and especially the Chargers’ relatively easy schedule down the stretch, the Patriots dropping any more games over the final four weeks of the season could have dramatic consequences. However, the problem is that their own slate will be one of the toughest in the league.
This in combination with New England’s up-and-down play this season is exactly why fans don’t feel confident in the team’s ability to finish the season strong.
As a look at the results from the latest SB Nation Reacts survey shows, 46 percent of participants believe that New England will go just 2-2 over the final four weeks. This would have them finish with a 9-8 record on the year — a record that might ultimately not be enough to sneak into the postseason.
The Patriots leaving the final stretch with a winning record — either going 3-1 or 4-0 — is projected by only 12 percent of participating fans. The team will go up against the Raiders on Sunday, followed by games versus the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills to close out the year.
This pessimism is also reflected in the general fan confidence number. After sitting at 36 percent a week ago, coming off a loss to the Bills, the number surprisingly declined even further despite a 27-13 victory in Arizona. The Patriots’ continued offensive struggles are likely the driving factor behind this development.
To end on a positive note, though, a league-wide survey of fans showed that they believe the Patriots will beat the Raiders on Sunday.
Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.