Thursday, January 20

NFL Playoff Image: How The Patriots’ Loss To The Colts Affects The AFC East, South And Wild Card Racing



The Patriots’ seven-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt when they lost to the Colts in the second game of a critical NFL Week 15 on Saturday night. New England tried to rebound from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but thanks to NFL MVP contender Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis delivered a much-needed 27-17 victory.

Like Thursday night’s AFC West division battle in which the Chiefs outscored the Chargers in overtime, the outcome of the Patriots-Colts contest has a ripple effect on the conference playoff landscape.

MORE: Highlights of the Colts’ big win Saturday night

Starting with the Patriots perspective, here’s what it all means:

NFL Playoffs Image: How Patriots Loss Affects AFC Home Field and AFC East Racing

The Patriots (9-5) fell to third place in the conference playoff positioning behind the Chiefs (10-4), who beat the Chargers to start Week 15, and the Titans (9-4), who play the Steelers on Sunday. The Patriots will return to No. 2 in Week 16 if the Titans lose, because the Patriots beat Tennessee in Week 12.

If the Titans win and current No. 4 seed, the Ravens (8-5), leading the North, defeat the Packers on Sunday to equal the Patriots’ record, the Patriots would remain No. 3 because of their record. conference call from 7-2. .

MORE: Belichick is faced with a question about asking for FG when the Pats were down 13 in the quarter

While the Patriots will not drop from first place in the AFC East in Week 15, they would see their divisional lead reduced to one game if the No. 7 Bills (7-6) beat the Panthers at home as expected on Sunday. . Although the Patriots have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bills for now after beating them in Week 13, the teams will meet again in New England in Week 16. The Bills have a real shot at regaining first place with a win at that rematch through the divisional playoff.

The Patriots still have a nearly 80 percent chance of winning the division given the game is at home, and they remain nearly locked out for at least one wild-card spot. But landing a top two spot in the AFC playoffs is a bigger challenge now.

NFL Playoffs Image: How Colts’ Win Affects AFC Wild Card And AFC South Runs

The Colts (8-6) have already had a profitable Week 15 as they have improved their playoff chances. They jumped to No. 5 in the conference and the top wild-card position ahead of the Chargers (8-6) because the Colts hold the conference tiebreaker record (7-3). The Colts also have a head-to-head tiebreaker over the No. 7 Bills, whom they beat in Week 11.

MORE: Pats ‘Dugger, Colts’ Pittman ejected after skirmish

Indianapolis now has a great chance of making the playoffs back, over 75 percent, but what about its chances of catching Tennessee in the south? Barring a tie, the Colts will finish Week 15 one game behind the Titans or remain two games behind them. Unfortunately for the Colts, they lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Titans a long time ago; they were swept into the series for the season, falling in weeks 3 and 8.

The Colts’ chances of winning the division are slim to none. The Titans would have to crumble under a weak schedule. The Colts have a rare opportunity to finish No. 5 and improve their 2020 wild-card position by two spots. It would also mark the team’s third playoff appearance in four seasons with coach Frank Reich, each with a different quarterback (Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz).




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