The Patriots’ slim playoff chances have improved a bit after beating the Ravens on Sunday night, but there’s nothing to get overly dizzy about.
There remains a way to the playoffs, or as The Sports Hub’s « Felger & Mazz » likes to put it, « There’s a way » for the Patriots to get into the postseason.
A path exists. But the odds are still far from in their favor.
Apart from that, a 4-5 glimmer of hope certainly makes it more interesting for Patriots fans in the remaining games. No doubt it serves the players as well. Plus, the landscape seems to change every week when the field is controversial.
If the Houston Patriots continue to take care of business and continue the winning streak, their playoff chances will remain.
Assuming they hold their serve, win the games they’re supposed to win, and pull off a surprise or two along the way, they could have a nine- or ten-win season.
If you get 10 wins you will get the best shot as a joker. To do this, they would have to go 6-1 in the remaining games. When you take into account the team’s schedule and skills, this becomes difficult. Going 5-2 to hit a 9-7 mark seems more within reach.
And even then, their playoff status will depend on the fate of other teams, most of whom are 6-3. That basically sums up the wildcard door.
With the Bills three games ahead of the Patriots and the Dolphins in between, a division title seems even further away, albeit technically still in the game.
If the season ends after week 10, the Steelers (9-0), Chiefs (8-1), Bills (7-3) and Colts (6-3) would complete the playoffs as division winners, while the Raiders (6-3), Dolphins (6-3) and Ravens (6-3) as the three wildcard entries would get in.
The Pats sit on the 10th. Place, the Browns (6-3) and Titans (6-3) are also in front of them in the pecking order.
In order for the patriots to make up the difference and jump up the board, some in the group must walk the rest of the way 4-3 or 3-4. If you look at the schedules, it’s not impossible. At the same time, it’s hard to expect this to happen across the board.
The patriots have to finish two games with the start numbers. Playing 5-9 with seven games.
If you look at the pats first, four of the remaining games are against teams with record wins. Just winning the games against teams with record losses – Houston, Los Angeles (Chargers), and New York (Jets) – won’t do the job.
The Patriots must beat at least two or three of the teams with record profits and take care of the business in the other games.
The crucial games for the Patriots are against the Cardinals, who will arrive in Foxboro on Thursday night after an additional break against the Seahawks, the Rams game in LA on Thursday night and the division games against the Bills and Dolphins. You can’t stall or have time out against these teams. The error rate is so low.
Another important factor will be winning as many AFC games as possible. This works better for the Patriots with the tiebreaker formula. Wearing out the Texans, chargers, dolphins, bills, and jets is part of the playoff quotient.
When they talk to the players during the week, their mindset is to keep putting together good practices and wins will come.
« We’ve been through some tough spots this year and one thing we have said to ourselves is just stay true to who we are and just keep working, and the season isn’t over yet. « said Damien Harris running back. « And now I think it’s just as important, if not more, to have the same mentality after a big win. The season is not over yet. « .
« We’re still, if we’re honest, still not where we want to be for the course of the season. « . But we still have time to change that, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We are very happy about a good home win against a very good team, as I said earlier. But the challenge now is to just keep going and finding ways to keep improving so that we can keep going out there and succeeding and stringing these things together. ”
Stranger things have happened. So let’s look at the important teams lurking in the Patriots’ path and all of the permutations associated with those who have to stall down the road.
In order to rate the teams like this, the Patriot fans should now assert themselves against the rest of the way:
1. Dolphins: They’re a stumbling block in two ways, first in the division and in any wildcard scenario.
At the moment the fins are hot and are driving a winning streak of five games. The last three come with Tua Tagovailoa on top.
You still have winnable games against the Broncos, Jets and Bengals. They also have a tough four-game track that includes the Chiefs, Patriots, Raiders in Las Vegas, and Bills in Buffalo.
It is possible that you will lose at least three of these games. But that’s exactly what it’s going to take because if it goes that way and the Patriots hit them twice, the emerging flippers are going to have a tougher time, whether it’s the wild card or the division.
One reason the fins could be cracking is because they don’t have much experience handling large-stakes games, despite Brian Flores being at the forefront, along with a bunch of former Patriots on the roster including Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Ted Karras will certainly help.
In order for the Patriots to stand a good chance, the Dolphins must go 3-4 with a second loss to Bill Belichick’s team included in the mix.
2. Browns: Given their past and the post-season drought when they last appeared in the playoffs in 2002, it’s not too hard to imagine the Browns stalling on the track.
As it is, they had an existence from Jekyll and Hyde over the course of the year. Plus, it’s hard to trust quarterback Baker Mayfield who was hot and cold but mostly the latter during the season.
The running game with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will help in the winter months, but it’s still difficult to have a lot of confidence that the Browns can hold it together.
You still have matchups with several top notch opponents – the Ravens, Texans, and Steelers. And because of their inconsistent nature, they could lose what is considered a winnable game. So there is hope that they will get out of the competition.
3. Titans / Colts: One of these two teams will win the AFC South, the other will try to get in via the wild card.
The Patriots do not play either of the two teams on the track. But if either of them dropped the board, that would help.
The Titans, who grapple with defense and special teams year-round, have a tough time with the Ravens, Colts, Browns, and Packers in their remaining mix.
Mike Vrabel’s team, losers of three of the last four games, must pull themselves together.
The Colts don’t have the easiest finish run with the Packers, Titans, Raiders, and Steelers either. And while the Titans were on a bend, the Colts climbed and won three of their last four.
Of course, many of these teams will play against each other and have the chance to create distance. However, from the patriot’s point of view, it is the end result that one of the two dives.
4. Raiders: If the Patriots beat the Raiders in Week 3, they will hold the tiebreaker if they finish on the same record.
What is obvious is that the Raiders are unlikely to lose the Division title to the Chiefs, despite being the only team to beat Patrick Mahome’s & Co.. so far. So you are probably looking for a wild card.
They have currently won three games. They have a rematch with the Chiefs today and in December the Colts and Dolphins are also on the program.
It will be difficult to beat the Chiefs a second time, especially if COVID-19 hit Jon Gruden’s defenses over the past week.
Beyond those games, the Raiders have the Falcons in Atlanta next week. With the hawk resurgence, this may not be the easiest win. The same goes for the chargers on Thursday night after the Colts game. Since Indy play has an impact on the playoffs, it can be difficult to flip it over against a division opponent that quickly.
Granted, the Chargers only won two games, but rookie quarterback Justin Herbert makes every game difficult. The only thing that benefits the Raiders is that both the Colts and Chargers games are based in Las Vegas.
5. Ravens: With the win last Sunday, the Patriots have an advantage over John Harbaugh’s team. With the tiebreaker in their back pocket, it would work in their favor to finish on the same record as the Ravens.
Of the competing group, the ravens have the best team, but injuries plagued them.
The teams also have a better idea of how to thwart Lamar Jackson and Greg Roman’s offense after giving them time to plan how best to defend it.
They don’t have too much weight in the remaining games, with the Titans, Steelers, and Browns being the toughest. But taking injuries into account, the ravens won’t necessarily idle.
6. Bills: As mentioned above, the division’s title seems unreachable at this point. Unless the bills collapse sharply and the fins tighten, one of these two teams will take over the division for the first time in 12 seasons.
But for the sake of reasoning and the fact that the Bills weren’t the best closers, they’d have to go 2-4 or 1-5 over the course of the remaining games to give the Patriots a chance of the division.
That’s not impossible, just probably not, especially if the chargers, 49ers, and broncos are still on the dance card. That’s two or three wins right there.
New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders
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