What Ravens’ Win Over Browns Means For Patriots In AFC Playoff Race

A Ravens loss would have been big for New England

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November 28, 2021

The New England Patriots will enter Week 13 as the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

A Baltimore loss Sunday night would have vaulted New England into the conference’s top spot, but the Ravens survived four Lamar Jackson interceptions to defeat the Cleveland Browns 16-10.

The Patriots took down the AFC’s previous leaders, the Tennessee Titans, earlier in the day, winning 36-13 at Gillette Stadium. That win allowed Bill Belichick’s club to retake first place in the AFC East from the Buffalo Bills, who will host New England next week on “Monday Night Football.”

Here’s an updated look at the AFC playoff picture after Sunday’s results:

1. Baltimore Ravens (8-3; AFC North leader)
2. New England Patriots (8-4; AFC East leader)
3. Tennessee Titans (8-4; AFC South leader)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4; AFC West leader)
5. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4; first wild card)
6. Buffalo Bills (7-4; second wild card)
7. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5; third wild card)

In the hunt: Las Vegas Raiders (6-5), Denver Broncos (6-5), Indianapolis Colts (6-6), Cleveland Browns (6-6), Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1), Miami Dolphins (5-7)

The Ravens are on a bye next week. Because the Patriots own a superior conference record (6-1 to Baltimore’s 5-3), they can leapfrog Jackson and Co. in the standings with a win in Buffalo.

After their primetime date with the division rival Bills, the Patriots will have their bye week, then close out the season with games against the Colts (road), Bills (home), Jacksonville Jaguars (home) and Dolphins (road).

Analytics site FiveThirtyEight gives the Patriots a 91% chance of making the postseason, a 45% chance of winning the AFC East and a 22% chance of finishing atop the AFC and earning the conference’s first-round playoff bye. Their odds of winning Super Bowl LVI: 10%, fourth-highest behind the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Thumbnail photo via Evan Habeeb/USA TODAY Sports Images
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