Much of the Patriots playoff chances will rely on Saturday night’s game versus the Cowboys and the Ravens. Both teams sit at 9-5, and are playing for their playoff lives.
However, for Patriots fans, this game has a lot of importance. Currently, the Ravens hold the edge in conference record, and would beat the Patriots out in any tiebreaking scenarios, as both teams are tied at 9-5. That means if both teams won out, and the Patriots didn’t win the division, the Ravens would advance to the playoffs as the #6 seed.
However, that could all change if the Cowboys were to beat the Ravens tonight. The Ravens would fall to 9-6. Since the Jets and Dolphins play in the final week of the season, the best one of them could finish is 10-6, so the Patriots would control their own fate. Division race aside, the Patriots could win out and claim the #6 spot.
All of this seems nice and dandy, but if the Ravens win tonight’s game, things get really complacated. At 10-5, the Ravens would beat us out in any tiebreakers, and they would have to lose week 17 against the 5-10 Jaguars for the Patriots to have a chance at getting the wildcard. If the Ravens also win, we would really need either the Jets or Dolphins to lose to one of their 2-12 opponents to have a realistic shot at the playoffs. Both teams are on the road.
So things are clearly very complicated. And if the Pats want a clear path to the playoffs, they just have to hope the ‘boys can beat out the Ravens.