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.
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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. .
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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.
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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).
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.