The New England Patriots are not in elimination territory just yet, but to have a realistic chance at making the playoffs the goal is clear: they need to win their final three games of the season, or else they will be watching the tournament from home for the second time in the last three years. The first of those three games will already be a big challenge.
The Cincinnati Bengals, reigning AFC champions and owners of a 9-5 record, will visit Gillette Stadium on Saturday. And based on the two teams’ recent performances it is no surprise that the Patriots are not expected to come away victoriously.
Per DraftKings Sportsbook, New England is currently listed as 3.5-point underdogs. The over/under for the game has been set at 40.
Regardless of their status, the Patriots need to find a way to overcome the odds this week. After all, their current playoff odds are calculated at only 19 percent — a number that would, in a vacuum, increase to 37 percent with a win. A loss, on the other hand, would move New England in the single-digits and all but eliminate them from postseason participation.