The New England Patriots (11-3) will return to the AFC playoffs for the 11th consecutive year. But unlike the season after Tom Brady-Bill Belichick’s season began, they have not yet captured their status as division champions in the final two weeks of the 2019 NFL regular season.
The Patriots currently hold the No. 2 seed at the conference, but could finish anywhere except No. 6.
We break down what should happen to New England that will be placed anywhere from No. 1 to No. 5.
MORE: Scheduling of AFC, NFC playoff matches
NFL Playoff Picture: How the Patriots Get Seed No. 1 of the AFC
The Patriots will again be AFC East champions if they win their home accounts on Saturday. But they also need to beat the Dolphins at home in Week 17 to have a shot at winning the AFC playoffs.
At 13-3, the only way the Patriots can move up is the Ravens (12-2) losing to the Browns on the road and the Steelers at home. This is because the Patriots are a game under the Ravens with two left and they also lose the heads-to-head tiebreaker.
How Patriots Hold Seed No. 2 of the AFC
The Patriots will remain right when they are, if they win and the Ravens win at least one game. If they go 1-1 to win the division, they would need the Chiefs (10-4) to lose once to stay at No. 2.
How do patriots fall on seed no. 3 of the AFC
The Patriots would move at one point if they went 1-1 to finish 12-4 as division champions, and the Chiefs, who have a head-to-head victory, went 2-0.
How Patriots Fall to Seed No. 4 of the AFC
The Patriots can only fall to No. 4 if they lose and the Bills lose to the Jets in Week 17. They will win the sectional by 11-5 based on the tiebreaker of the Commonwealth Games. Then the Chiefs could go 1-1 and the Texans, who also beat the Patriots, could (9-5) win out to push the Patriots down two points.
How do patriots fall on seed no. 5 of the AFC
The Patriots can only do so if they lose and the accounts beat the Jets in Week 17. The Patriots will lose the division title based on the Game Division tiebreaker. At 11-5 in this case, it would not be lower than No. 5, as the Steelers and Titans are both 8-6 and cannot match their winning record.