Here's how the Patriots can clinch a postseason berth in Week 16.

By Alaa Abdeldaiem
December 23, 2018

The Patriots have missed out on the opportunity to win the AFC East over the past two weeks, but New England will get another chance when the team hosts the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

After falling to the Dolphins in Week 14 and the Steelers in Week 15, the Patriots fell to 9–5 on the season and saw their spot in the AFC playoff race drop from the No. 2 seed to the No. 3 seed. Tom Brady hasn't been playing like Tom Brady, committing a number of uncharacteristic errors that have the team on a two-game skid.

Luckily for the Patriots, the team still has a chance to regain their position atop the conference, but they'll need help around the league to make it happen. Otherwise, New England faces the prospect of having to go on the road twice if they want to make it to Super Bowl LIII. The Patriots are currently 3–5 away from Foxboro, their worst mark since 2009.

Here are New England's playoff scenarios heading into Week 16:

1. The Patriots can clinch the AFC East with a win against Buffalo on Sunday

The simplest way New England can secure its spot in the AFC playoff picture is with a win against the Bills this week. In their last outing against Buffalo, the Patriots cruised to a 25–6 win. The Bills didn't have Josh Allen in the lineup back then, but New England still has a chance to put away a familiar opponent at home for the division crown.

2. The Patriots can clinch the AFC East with a Miami Dolphins loss on Sunday

Even if the Patriots don't pull off a home win over the Bill this week, New England would still clinch the AFC East with a Dolphins loss. Miami hosts Jacksonville on Sunday and is coming off of a demoralizing 41–17 loss against the Vikings last week.

3. The Patriots can clinch the No. 2 seed with two wins and a Texans loss

Thanks to a Week 1 win over Houston, the Patriots can still climb back into the No. 2 seed by the end of the regular season if they win their final two games (both at home against the Bills and Jets) and the Texans drop one of their final two games (at Philadelphia and home against Jacksonville).

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