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NFL playoff picture: Patriots’ weekend was a disappointment, but at least they received a bit of help on Sunday

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 27-17 loss to Colts

NFL: DEC 18 Patriots at Colts Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Make no mistake, Week 15 will go down in the books as a disappointing one for the New England Patriots.

The team saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end in a 27-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and fell from the top spot in the AFC as a result. Furthermore, the Buffalo Bills made up some ground in the division to turn next Sunday’s game into a true battle for the division crown.

That being said, the weekend could have gone a lot worse. Thanks to the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens both suffering losses, however, the worst-case scenario for Sunday was avoided. As a result, New England now still sits in the No. 2 seed with four more games left to be played.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
  2. New England Patriots (9-5)
  3. Tennessee Titans (9-5)
  4. Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
  5. Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
  6. Los Angeles Chargers (8-6)
  7. Buffalo Bills (8-6)

In the hunt: 8. Baltimore Ravens (8-6), 9. Cleveland Browns (7-6), 10. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1), 11. Miami Dolphins (7-7), 12. Denver Broncos (7-7), 13. Las Vegas Raiders (6-7)

Eliminated: 14. New York Jets (3-11), 15. Houston Texans (3-11), 16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)

While the Patriots, Titans and especially Ravens — they dropped out of the playoff picture altogether as of Monday and now hold the eighth seed — are among this weekend’s losers, the Chiefs and Bengals are the biggest winners: Kansas City earned the No. 1 seed in the conference with its Thursday win over the Chargers, while Cincinnati climbed five spots to retake the lead in the AFC North and the fourth seed.