New England Patriots

New England Patriots

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 12: Bill Belichick, Head Coach of the New England Patriots, looks on in the first quarter during the NFL match between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots at Deutsche Bank Park on November 12, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

With the team sitting at 2-9, nobody is thinking about a playoff run by this New England Patriots team. That’s fair, but it is technically still a possibility – for now.

Technically, the Patriots haven’t been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet. However, that could happen as soon as this upcoming week, Week 13.


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If they are eliminated, it would just be the third time in Bill Belichick‘s tenure with the Patriots that the team will play games without a playoff spot on the line. When they missed the playoffs in 2002, 2009 and last year in 2022, they weren’t eliminated until the final day of the season.

In Belichick’s first year in New England in 2000, the Patriots were eliminated in early December and ended up playing three more games after being mathematically eliminated. That wouldn’t happen again for another two decades until the 2020 season, when the Patriots were out of playoff contention for the final two games of the year.

The Patriots also haven’t been officially eliminated from winning the AFC East yet either. That could also come this week, even if they’re not eliminated from the playoffs outright. Here are the scenarios to be aware of…

  • Eliminated from playoff contention

    FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 12: Bill Belichick, Head Coach of the New England Patriots, looks on prior to the NFL match between Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots at Deutsche Bank Park on November 12, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

    FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY – NOVEMBER 12: Bill Belichick, Head Coach of the New England Patriots, looks on prior to the NFL match between Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots at Deutsche Bank Park on November 12, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

    There are five scenarios this week in which the Patriots can be eliminated from playoff contention. In all five, the first two legs are the Patriots losing to the Chargers and the Steelers beating the Cardinals. After that, one of the following five things has to happen (some, of course, much more realistic than others)…

    –Colts win/tie at Titans AND Browns win/tie at Rams
    –Colts win/tie at Titans AND Bengals win at Jaguars AND Texans win at Broncos
    –Colts win at Titans AND Bengals tie at Jaguars AND Texans win at Broncos
    –Colts win at Titans AND Texans tie at Broncos
    –Colts tie at Titans AND Bengals win/tie at Jaguars AND Texans tie at Broncos

     

  • Eliminated from AFC East contention

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 29: DeShon Elliott #21 of the Miami Dolphins attempts to tackle Rhamondre Stevenson #38 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on October 29, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – OCTOBER 29: DeShon Elliott #21 of the Miami Dolphins attempts to tackle Rhamondre Stevenson #38 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium on October 29, 2023 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

    Even if they’re not eliminated from the playoffs outright, one of two things happening would officially guarantee the Patriots’ fourth consecutive season without an AFC East title. If the Patriots lose or tie against the Chargers, and the Dolphins beat or tie the Commanders, the Patriots can no longer win their division.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.

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