Heading into their Week 15 matchup with the Colts, FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Patriots a 98 percent chance to make the playoffs. That’s the third-highest odds in the NFL and the highest of any AFC team.
With four weeks remaining, no team in the NFL has officially clinched a playoff spot yet (although the Jets, Texans, Jaguars, and Lions have officially been eliminated). Seven teams have a chance to do so this week, including the Patriots. While some teams (ex. Tampa, Green Bay) have simple ‘win and in’ scenarios, or even just needing one other game to go their way (Tennessee) the Patriots will need significant help.
According to NFLPlayoffScenarios.com there are 15 different ways the Patriots can clinch a playoff spot this weekend. However, the simplest way involves five separate outcomes.
Do any of the following combinations have a shot at happening? If they don’t, New England can clinch both a playoff spot and division championship (which comes with at least one guaranteed home playoff game) next week against Buffalo, regardless of what the outcomes are for both the Patriots and Bills this weekend. The Patriots and Titans are the only AFC teams that can clinch a spot this week.