NFL Playoff Picture: Where Patriots stand entering MNF vs. Cardinals originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Patriots enter their Week 14 matchup with the Cardinals at 6-6 after two straight losses. As of Monday morning, they’re the No. 9 seed in the AFC, but that position could change depending on the results of “Monday Night Football.”
How, you ask? First, here are the updated AFC standings through every Week 14 game except Patriots-Cardinals:
In a Playoff Spot
Buffalo Bills, 10-3 (AFC East leader)
Kansas City Chiefs, 10-3 (AFC West leader)
Baltimore Ravens, 9-4 (AFC North leader)
Tennessee Titans, 7-6 (AFC South leader)
Cincinnati Bengals, 9-4 (First Wild Card)
Miami Dolphins, 8-5 (Second Wild Card)
Los Angeles Chargers, 7-6 (Third Wild Card)
On the Bubble
8. New York Jets, 7-6
9. New England Patriots, 6-6
10. Jacksonville Jaguars, 5-8
11. Las Vegas Raiders, 5-8
12. Cleveland Browns, 5-8
12. Pittsburgh Steelers, 5-8
The Chargers’ upset win of the Dolphins on “Sunday Night Football” vaulted them into the final AFC playoff spot and knocked the Jets — who lost 20-12 to the Bills — temporarily out of playoff position.
You could argue that was a good result for the Patriots, who own tiebreakers over both the Jets and Chargers. So, if New England beats Arizona on Monday, it will vault to the AFC’s No. 7 seed, overtaking both New York and Los Angeles.
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If the Patriots lose, however, they’ll fall to 6-7 and remain the AFC’s No. 9 seed. That would leave them an uphill climb to reach the postseason: The predictive site FiveThirtyEight gives New England a 40 percent chance of making the playoffs with a win Monday night, but just a 13 percent chance if the team loses.
That’s partially a reflection of the Patriots’ remaining schedule, which includes a road matchup with Josh McDaniels’ Raiders followed three games against current playoff teams.
Week 15: at Las Vegas Raiders
Week 16: vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Saturday)
Week 17: vs. Miami Dolphins
Week 18: at Buffalo Bills
That’s all to say the Patriots need to take care of business against the 4-8 Cardinals if they want a realistic shot of playing past the first week of January.