Patriots Are Barely Hanging on to First-Round Playoff Bye After Week 14

Devon Clements

A 23-16 loss for the New England Patriots in Week 14 has their chances of clinching a first-round bye in the playoffs a bit more slim. Now that the Kansas City Chiefs own the tiebreaker and the Buffalo Bills are still very much in the hunt to win the division, the Patriots need to bring their A-game in the coming weeks if they want to begin the postseason with a week of rest. 

Here are the AFC playoff seedings if the regular season were to end today:

1) Baltimore Ravens (11-2)

2) New England Patriots (10-3)

3) Kansas City Chiefs (9-4)

4) Houston Texans (8-5)

5) Buffalo Bills (9-4)

6) Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5)

In the hunt

  • Tennessee Titans (8-5)
  • Cleveland Browns (6-7)
  • Oakland Raiders (6-7)
  • Denver Broncos (5-8)

The Ravens have clinched a playoff berth and don't look like they will be slowing down anytime soon, so the no. 1 seed looks to be locked up. With three games remaining, New England, if they want to retain possession of a first-round playoff bye, need to win out to keep control of their own playoff destiny. If they don't win their remaining three games, then there is the potential for the Chiefs, Texans and/or Bills to jump them in the seedings. 

New England faces the Bills in Week 16, which may be the most important game remaining on their schedule. A realistic scenario for the reigning Super Bowl champions is they lose their game against Buffalo, the Chiefs win out, and the Bills win out, which would drop the Patriots all the way down to the no. 5 seed. However, if New England does win in Week 16 they can maintain possession of the no. 2 seed, barring they beat the Bengals in Week 15 and the Dolphins in Week 17. If they lose one of those games and the Chiefs win out, then they could drop down to the no. 3 seed and lose their first-round playoff bye. 

Comments (2)
No. 1-2
Max McAuliffe
Max McAuliffe

No room for error.

Mike Constantino
Mike Constantino

Control their own destiny. Win-out for that bye.