Skip to main content
Advertising

Official website of the New England Patriots

live
LIVE: Patriots Unfiltered, 12 - 2 PM Tue May 21 | 11:55 AM - 02:00 PM

Patriots playoff scenarios

The Patriots can clinch a first-round bye this week if Indianapolis loses to Denver on Sunday night.

The Patriots can clinch a first-round bye this week if Indianapolis loses to Denver on Sunday night. Some of the Patriots' other potential playoff scenarios are detailed below.

Patriots win final two games-

New England would earn the number one seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 14-2 record. Even if Kansas City (at Minnesota and vs. Chicago) wins its final two games and also finishes 14-2, the Patriots would beat the Chiefs in a tiebreaker based on a better record against AFC opposition (11-1 to 10-2).

Patriots split final two games-

The following scenarios could take place if the Patriots win one of their final two games to finish 13-3:

  • If Kansas City splits its final two games and Indianapolis loses one or both of its remaining games, the Patriots and Kansas City would be involved in a two-way tie to determine the top seed in the AFC. In this case the Wild Card tiebreakers would be applied. If the Patriots beat the Jets and lose to Buffalo, Kansas City would win based on a better record against common opponents (4-1 to 3-2, details below). If the Patriots lose to the Jets but beat Buffalo, the Patriots and Chiefs would both have a 4-1 record against common opponents. The strength of victory tiebreaker would apply, and New England is assured to win in that scenario (more detail below).
  • If both Kansas City and Indianapolis win their final two games and the Patriots split, Kansas City would earn the top seed with a 14-2 record. The Patriots and Colts would both finish 13-3, and the Patriots would earn the second seed and a first-round bye based on their 38-34 win over the Colts on Nov. 30.
  • If Kansas City loses both of its remaining games, the Patriots would earn the top seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
  • If Kansas City splits its final two games and Indianapolis wins its final two, all three teams would finish 13-3 (scenarios detailed below).

Patriots beat the Jets, but lose to Buffalo-
In a three-way tie: 1. Colts, 2. Chiefs, 3. Patriots
In a two-way tie: 1. Chiefs, 2. Patriots

New England would finish 13-3 and leave open the possibility of a three-way tie with the Chiefs and Colts (see above for scenarios if there is no three-way tie). For a three-way tie to happen, the Chiefs would need to split their final two games (at Minnesota and vs. Chicago) and the Colts would need to win both of their final two games (vs. Denver and at Houston). In this scenario, the head-to-head tiebreaker would not apply since none of the teams has played each of the other two. The next tiebreaker is conference record, but all three teams would remain tied with each holding a 10-2 AFC mark. Thus, the third tiebreaker would apply – record against common opponents (minimum four). The Patriots, Colts and Chiefs have all played Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver and Houston. In the scenario where all three teams finish 13-3 and New England loses to Buffalo, the Colts would be 5-0 against these common opponents, the Chiefs would be 4-1 and the Patriots would be 3-2. This would result in Indianapolis getting the top seed (and a first-round bye), Kansas City getting the second seed (and a first-round bye). New England would get the third seed and host a Wild Card game on the weekend of Jan. 3-4.

Patriots lose to the Jets, but beat Buffalo-
In a three-way tie: 1. Colts, 2. Patriots, 3. Chiefs
In a two-way tie: 1. Patriots, 2. Chiefs

New England would finish 13-3 and leave open the possibility of a three-way tie with the Chiefs and Colts (see above for scenarios if there is no three-way tie). In this scenario, the head-to-head tiebreaker would not apply since none of the teams has played each of the other two. The next tiebreaker is conference record, but all three teams would remain tied with each holding a 10-2 AFC mark. The third tiebreaker would then apply – record against common opponents (minimum four). The Patriots, Colts and Chiefs have all played Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver and Houston. In the scenario where all three teams finish 13-3 and New England defeats Buffalo, the Colts would be 5-0 against these common opponents (earning the top seed), and the Chiefs and Patriots would both be 4-1. The Patriots and Chiefs would then advance to the strength of victory tiebreaker to determine who gets the second seed and the final first-round bye. With two games remaining, New England's strength of victory (aggregate winning percentage of teams it has defeated) is .540, while Kansas City's is .375. With two games remaining, the Chiefs cannot make up .165 percentage points in the strength of victory standings. In this case, New England would earn the second seed and a first round bye and force Kansas City to host a Wild Card game.

Patriots lose final two games-

Even if New England loses its final two games, it can still earn a first-round bye if Indianapolis loses one of its final two games to finish at 12-4. If Kansas City wins at least one more game to finish at 13-3 and the Patriots and Colts fall into a two-way tie at 12-4, New England would earn the second seed based on their head-to-head advantage over the Colts. If Kansas City loses its final two games and Indianapolis wins one of its final two games, the Colts, Chiefs and Patriots would end the season in a three-way tie at 12-4. In that case, Kansas City would earn the number one seed with a 10-2 conference record and the Colts and Patriots would each finish with a 9-3 conference record. The head-to-head tiebreaker would then apply to the Patriots and Colts, with the Patriots earning the second seed based on their head-to-head win over Indianapolis. If Tennessee wins the AFC South and finishes at 12-4, the Patriots would beat the Titans in a tiebreaker (head-to-head win and better conference record: 9-3 to 8-4). The Patriots would not earn a bye if they lose their final two games and Indianapolis wins their final two games. In that scenario, the Patriots would host a Wild Card Game on Jan. 3-4.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising

Latest News

Presented by
Advertising

Trending Video

Advertising

In Case You Missed It

Presented by
Advertising