New England's improbable and exciting season could get a huge boost this weekend, with the Patriots having a chance to clinch their first playoff spot since 1998.
With a victory over Miami this Saturday and a little help, the Patriots could grab at least a wild card and position themselves for a shot at the AFC East crowns. A victory over the Dolphins coupled with a loss for New York, Baltimore or Seattle puts New England in the postseason. If the New England-Miami game ends in a tie and the Seahawks fall, that would also put the Patriots in the playoffs.
Because the Patriots play Saturday afternoon at 1:30, they will be able to watch all three games that could help determine their fate. Baltimore hosts Cincinnati, Seattle plays at the New York Giants and the Jets are on the road against Indianapolis in the Sunday night game.
It is important to point out that the division could still end in a three-way tie between the Patriots, Miami and the Jets. If the Patriots and Jets both win all their remaining games and the Dolphins beat Atlanta and Buffalo, all three teams would finish 11-5. In that case, the first decider in a three-way tie is head-to-head winning percentage among the three teams.
New York would win the tie breaker because of its 3-1 record against the Patriots and Dolphins. New England would be second with a 2-2 record, and Miami at 1-3 would be third.
Here are the remaining games for New England, the Jets and Miami.
New England: Miami, @ Carolina
New York: @ Indianapolis, Buffalo, @ Oakland
Miami: @ New England, Atlanta, Buffalo