Here's the Hail Mary scenario in which Pats make playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The New England Patriots' microscopic playoff chances somehow got smaller Monday night.
The Baltimore Ravens' wild win over the Cleveland Browns moved them to 8-5 and just behind the 8-5 Miami Dolphins for the AFC's final Wild Card spot.
The 6-7 Patriots, meanwhile, are 10th in the AFC behind the Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders. And after Baltimore's win, their chances of making the playoffs dropped from 4% to 2%, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Even if New England beats the Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets to finish at 9-7, it only has a 10% chance of reaching the postseason, per FiveThirtyEight.
When you look at what actually needs to happen for the Patriots to make the playoffs, 10% seems generous. From NESN.com's Zack Cox:
Assuming they win out, the Patriots need at least three of the five scenarios above to happen. Here are each of those teams' final three games:
- at New York Giants, at New York Jets, vs. Pittsburgh
- vs. Houston, at Pittsburgh, vs. Jacksonville
- vs. Detroit, at Green Bay, at Houston
- vs. New England, at Las Vegas, at Buffalo
- vs. Jacksonville, vs. New York Giants, at Cincinnati
Las Vegas Raiders
- vs. Los Angeles Chargers, vs. Miami, at Denver
The teams in italics all have losing records, and the Dolphins are the only team on this list who don't face at least two sub-.500 teams in their final three games.
So, unless the Jaguars or Jets suddenly catch fire, the Patriots are all but cooked.
New England making the playoffs has been a long shot since its debilitating loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night, and now Bill Belichick's team truly needs a miracle to make the postseason for a 12th consecutive year.
On the bright side, at least they can still finish with a winning record.