With only two weeks left in the NFL season, the playoff picture is beginning to come into focus. ESPNBoston’s Mike Reiss broke down the Patriots playoff scenarios with two games remaining. -

New England clinches a first-round bye with:
1) NE win + HOU loss or tie OR
2) NE win + PIT loss or tie + BAL loss or tie OR
3) NE tie + HOU loss OR
4) NE tie + PIT loss + BAL loss

New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1) NE win + HOU loss or tie + PIT loss or tie + BAL loss or tie

Analysis:

Reiss and the ESPNBoston staff do a great job of cleaning up the very murky playoff picture.

Ideally, the Patriots beat the Dolphins on Saturday while the Texans, Steelers and Ravens all lose. Given that the Steelers and Ravens return home to face the Rams and Browns respectively, I do not see this scenario working out.

All the other scenarios, which result in the Patriots clinching a first round bye, require a loss by the Texans on the road against the Colts or losses by both the Ravens and Steelers.

Overall, it starts with New England getting a win this Saturday. The Dolphins should put up a fight, but I still believe the Patriots will get the victory at home. I will be posting more on this game shortly.

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