New England Patriots playoff scenarios are a big deal, but not necessarily taking center stage. These New England Patriots playoff scenarios could be directly impacted by the latest injury news for the team in Week 16. A report from ESPN on Sunday morning (Dec. 22) states that left tackle Nate Solder and wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins have been ruled out. Neither player even accompanied the team on the trip, leaving the depth chart even emptier.
The team is already playing without Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Josh Boyce due to other injuries. It has also been rumored that Aaron Dobson might not be able to play, even though he is going to become a game-time decision. Having all these injured players in a game against the Baltimore Ravens sets up a really tough match-up, but this isn't something that former NFL MVP Tom Brady hasn't been able to deal with before.
There is a lot up in the air when it comes to the New England Patriots playoff scenarios and even a possibility that the team could miss the 2014 AFC Playoffs by losing the remaining two games on their schedule. The team can clinch the AFC East with a win, a tie, or a loss by the Miami Dolphins. That's the easiest route to the postseason, as it applies to the next two weeks. They can also clinch at least the No. 2 seed with a win and losses by the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts. Regarding securing at least a wild card slot, all the team needs is for the Bengals to lose one more game.
There is still an interesting scenario where the Patriots can become the No. 1 seed in the AFC as well. What the team needs to do is finish with the same record as the Denver Broncos and have the Kansas City Chiefs either tied in the AFC West standings with the Broncos or behind them. The Patriots own the head-to-had tie-breaker, so they would take over the top spot if that occurred. That would require the Broncos to lose at least one of their final two games of the regular season.
Exact New England Patriots Playoff Scenarios:
*To clinch playoff spot: One win or one Cincinnati Bengals loss.
*To clinch AFC East: One win or one Miami Dolphins loss.
*To clinch first-round bye: One win and one loss by the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts. Two wins would also do it.
*To take No. 1 seed: Finish with equal or better record than Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
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