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NFL playoff picture: How Patriots’ loss to Colts impacts AFC East, South and wild-card races

The Patriots’ seven-game profitable streak got here to a screeching halt once they misplaced to the Colts within the second sport of a essential NFL Week 15 on Saturday evening. New England tried to rally from a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit, however thanks to NFL MVP contender Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis acquired a much-needed 27-17 victory.

Just like Thursday evening’s AFC West division battle during which the Chiefs outlasted the Chargers in extra time, the results of the Patriots-Colts contest has ripple results on the convention’s playoff image.

MORE: Highlights from Colts’ large Saturday evening win

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

NFL playoff image: How Patriots’ loss impacts AFC home-field, AFC East races

The Patriots (9-5) fell to the No. 3 seed in convention 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 transfer again up to No. 2 for Week 16 if the Titans lose, as a result of the Patriots beat Tennessee in Week 12.

Should Titans win and the present No. 4 seed, the North-leading Ravens (8-5), beat the Packers on Sunday to match the Patriots’ file, the Patriots would nonetheless be No. 3 due to their 7-2 convention file.

MORE: Belichick faces query about calling for FG when Pats had been down 13 in 4th

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While the Patriots will not fall out of first place within the AFC East in Week 15, they’d see their division lead go down to one sport ought to the No. 7 Bills (7-6) beat the Panthers at residence as anticipated Sunday. Although the Patriots maintain the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bills for now after beating them in Week 13, the groups will meet once more in New England in Week 16. The Bills have an actual probability to take again first place with a win in that rematch by way of the division tiebreaker.

The Patriots nonetheless have a virtually 80 p.c probability of profitable the division on condition that the sport is at residence, and they continue to be a near-lock for at the least a wild-card berth. But getting a top-two AFC playoff seed is extra of a problem now.

NFL playoff image: How Colts’ win impacts AFC wild-card, AFC South races

The Colts (8-6) have already got had a worthwhile Week 15 as they’ve improved their playoff possibilities. They jumped to No. 5 within the convention and the highest wild-card place forward of the Chargers (8-6) as a result of the Colts maintain the convention file tiebreaker (7-3). The Colts even have the head-to-head tiebreaker over the No. 7 Bills, whom they beat in Week 11.

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

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Indianapolis now has a powerful probability of returning to the playoffs — higher than 75 p.c — however what about its possibilities to catch Tennessee within the South? Barring a tie, Colts will end Week 15 one sport behind the Titans or stay two video games behind them. Unfortunately for the Colts, they misplaced the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Titans way back; they had been swept within the season collection, falling in Weeks 3 and 8.

The Colts’ possibilities of profitable the division are subsequent to none. The Titans would wish to crumble towards a weak schedule. The Colts do have an distinctive probability at ending No. 5 and bettering their 2020 wild-card place by two spots. It would additionally mark the workforce’s third playoff look in 4 seasons below coach Frank Reich, every with a unique quarterback (Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz).

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