Patriots Playoff Picture: Updated Standings & Scenarios After Week 17 Win

Tom Brady

Getty New England Patriots QB Tom Brady

The New England Patriots find themselves with something to play for in Week 17 of the 2018 NFL season. In turn, this means we’ll see quarterback Tom Brady and the full starting group (more than likely) pushing to get a win over the New York Jets on Sunday. Although the Patriots could clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs even with a loss, they’re most likely to finish with the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

There are a few different scenarios which could play out for Bill Belichick’s team this weekend, as they could land in any seed from 1-4 when the day wraps up. Their most likely outcome is to stick in the No. 2 spot, and Playoff Status has given that an 88 percent chance of happening.

We’re going to take a look at the AFC playoff picture and also the potential scenarios for the Patriots in the final week of the season.

*Note: Updated standings and scenarios below

AFC Playoff Standings & Scenarios to Watch

1. Kansas City Chiefs 11 4 0
2. New England Patriots 11 5 0
3. Houston Texans 11 5 0
4. Baltimore Ravens 9 6 0
5. L.A. Chargers 11 4 0
6. Indianapolis Colts 9 6 0
7. Tennessee Titans 9 6 0
8. Pittsburgh Steelers 8 6 1

The Patriots have an interesting number of potential outcomes heading into the final game. Although the most likely scenario remains New England finishing as the No. 2 seed, there are chances they could still be on the move.

If the playoffs started with the standings exactly as seen above, the Patriots would draw the highest winning seed from the wild-card round. So if the Houston Texans defeated the Indianapolis Colts, Deshaun Watson and company would be heading to Foxborough. The way the NFL playoff reseeding works, it will send the team with the lowest spot to face the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the divisional round.

Let’s break down how the Patriots could wind up moving out of that No. 2 spot and either up to the top or down a bit with Week 17 results.

Week 17 Impact on Patriots’ Playoff Picture

In order for the Patriots to grab the top seed in the AFC, they would need both the Kansas City Chiefs to lose to the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers to fall to the Denver Broncos. Neither scenario seems to be all that likely, and they’d, of course, have to win their game against the Jets as well. The odds of this happening aren’t great so I wouldn’t hold out hope on that outcome.

The Patriots could fall to No. 3 if they lose to the Jets and the Texans defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, or if they were to tie and Houston won. There are a variety of other things that could play out which could drop the Patriots down, but they’re all major longshots, per Playoff Status. Regardless, if New England wins, they’re going at least hold onto the second seed.

With a few things happening, the Patriots could also move down to No. 4, but that would involve a loss and the Baltimore Ravens winning, along with a Texans victory. A win for the Ravens would give them a better conference record than the Patriots, which could come into play for tiebreak purposes.

All-in-all there’s not a ton to be worried about for Patriots fans in Week 17, especially if they defeat the Jets.

Update: Following the Week 17 win, the Patriots hold a 97 percent chance for the No. 2 seed and a narrow shot to earn the top seed. In order to earn the No. 1 seed, both the Chiefs and Chargers would need to lose during the afternoon slate. Regardless, the Patriots are locked into a first-round bye.

READ NEXT: Texans Playoff Schedule: Who & When Does Houston Play Next?

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