Over on the Chiefs Planet message board, we noticed how badly New England is killing the AFC East and wondered what is the earliest week the Patriots could possibly clinch the division. One poster initially guessed week 9, so being the bored math nerd I figured it out, and thought you guys might get a chuckle out of this. -------------------------------------- The New England Patriots can NOT clinch the division under any circumstances at the end of week 9. The earliest it could happen is after week 10 or 11 (highly unlikely, but possible) To figure this out, I assumed that New England wins out through week 9, and the worst thing that could happen to Buffalo, NYJ, and Miami through week 9 does happen. Then I see if those 3 teams have all been eliminated from the division race. End of Week 9 New England: At the end of week 9, they are 9-0 with a 3-0 division record. If they lose out from there, they are 9-7 with a 3-3 division record. Buffalo: Not Eliminated. At the end of week 9, they are 1-7 with a 1-2 division record. If they win out and the Patriots lose out, they finish 9-7 with a 4-2 division record and win the division. Miami: Eliminated. At the end of week 9, they are 0-8 and can't catch the Patriots. We dont have to think about Miami in the 11-week scenario either. New York Jets: Eliminated, unless they beat Buffalo. If they lose out, they are 1-8 and can't catch the Patriots. However, if they lose out, that gives Buffalo another win which makes it even harder to eliminate the Bills in week 10. If you let the Jets win that week 8 game, then the Jets are back in it after week 9 with a 2-7 record and 2-2 in the division. If they won out from there and the Patriots lost out, they would be 9-7 and 4-2 in division, winning the AFC East. Week 11 Scenarios: If Buffalo beats the Jets and loses in week 10 during New England's bye week, they are 2-7 and still not out of it until the Patriots finally take them out in week 11. If you let the Jets beat Buffalo, then the Jets are still in it during their 10th week bye, only to finally be eliminated in week 11 with their 8th loss vs Pittsburgh. Week 10 Scenario: If Buffalo and the Jets tie in week 8, the Jets are done, and then Buffalo can be eliminated with a loss in week 10.