AFC Playoff Picture: Patriots Get Week 13 Help After Loss To Bills

The Patriots are just one game back of the final wild card

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December 4, 2022

The New England Patriots might not have looked like a playoff contender in their underwhelming Week 13 defeat to the Buffalo Bills, but that doesn’t mean the path isn’t still there for Bill Belichick’s team.

The Patriots received some help from around the league Sunday. New England benefitted from a trio of verdicts with the Minnesota Vikings escaping against the New York Jets, Josh McDaniels’ Las Vegas Raiders defeating the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers beating the Miami Dolphins.

All three were beneficial results for the Patriots, who are a mere one game back of the Jets for the final wild-card spot.

Here’s a look at the AFC standings heading into “Sunday Night Football” between the 4-7-1 Indianapolis Colts and NFC East’s Dallas Cowboys, both of whom have little impact on the current standings:

1. Buffalo Bills (AFC East leader, 9-3)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West leader, 9-3)
3. Baltimore Ravens (AFC North leader, 8-4)
4. Tennessee Titans (AFC West leader, 7-5)
5. Cincinnati Bengals (first wild card, 8-4)
6. Miami Dolphins (second wild card, 8-4)
7. New York Jets (third wild card, 7-5)

8. New England Patriots (6-6)
9. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)

The Patriots would have further benefitted if Russell Wilson’s Broncos could have held on against the Lamar Jackson-less Ravens, but Denver allowed second-stringer Tyler Huntley to put together a game-winning drive with Baltimore keeping pace in the AFC North. The Bengals’ victory over the Chiefs wasn’t a great result for New England’s aspirations, as it’s more realistic to earn a wild card than home-field advantage, which is what Kansas City is competing for.

The AFC East currently has three teams in the playoff picture, but with the Patriots sweeping the Jets in the two-game regular-season series, New England holds the tiebreaker against New York. The Patriots don’t have much room for error in their final five games, three of which are against AFC teams currently in the playoff picture, but there remains a realistic chance the Patriots can grab the final wild-card spot.

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