Patriots Playoff Scenarios: 15 Crazy Ways New England Can Clinch Spot

There are 15 possible clinching scenarios


Dec 15, 2021

The New England Patriots could clinch a spot in the 2021 NFL playoffs this weekend.

Will they? Most likely not.

There are 15 possible clinching scenarios for the Patriots in Week 15, according to, but all of them would require the results of at least four other games to break in New England’s favor.

In these 15 scenarios, there are two constants:

— The Patriots need to beat the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium

— The Miami Dolphins must either lose to or tie the New York Jets on Sunday

From there, things get nutty. Check it out:

Analytics site FiveThirtyEight gives the Patriots a 98% chance of making the postseason. But barring a miraculous confluence of circumstances, they’re not likely to lock down a berth this week.

That could happen as early as next week, however. If the Patriots take down the Colts on Saturday, they can clinch the AFC East title with a win over the Buffalo Bills next Sunday.

Winners of seven straight, the 9-4 Patriots currently lead the Bills by two games in the AFC East and sit atop the AFC standings thanks to a conference record tiebreaker with the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs.

Thumbnail photo via Mark Konezny/USA TODAY Sports Images
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