While the Jacksonville Jaguars couldn’t help the Patriots last week, the Denver Broncos provided New England a little assistance on Sunday as it pertains to their playoff hopes.
The Broncos took care of the Pittsburgh Steelers at home with a 24-17 win, which included a huge interception against Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone as the Steelers tried to tie the game in the closing minutes.
The loss dropped the Steelers to 7-3-1 on the season, giving the Patriots the #2 seed with five games to go after New England took care of business at MetLife Stadium against the Jets on Sunday with a 27-13 win. That’s good news for the Patriots, who with that seed would have a first-round bye in the postseason. That’s critical since in the event they’re able to maintain that spot over these final five weeks, it would provide them with another chance to potentially get healthy heading into the postseason and put them one step closer to reaching the Super Bowl.
New England will have an opportunity to knock the Steelers further down the ladder in three weeks when they travel to Pittsburgh on December 16th in what will be their final road game of the season. It’s a huge opportunity, as it would also give the Patriots the edge in the event of a tie-breaker since they would have won the head-to-head match-up.
The Patriots would then play their final two games at home against the Bills and Jets respectively.
Meanwhile, if they’re able to win out, the top seed is still in play thanks to the Rams beating the Chiefs last Monday night. The Chiefs were on a bye this week and still have three potentially difficult games left to go against the Ravens, Chargers and Seahawks. They come out of their bye with a trip to Oakland to face the Raiders next weekend.
If the Chiefs were to drop one more and the Patriots are able to win their final five games, the team would then earn the top seed thanks to the fact they hold the tie-breaker from their win over Kansas City back in Week 6. If Houston runs off five more wins, the Patriots would still hold the top spot thanks to their head-to-head win over the 7-3 Texans back in Week 1. Houston will play at home against Tennessee tonight on Monday Night Football.
For now, the Patriots are at least in control of their future with December looming. They’ll return home after Sunday’s win and start preparing for the Vikings next Sunday at Gillette Stadium. It should be a tough match-up as Minnesota is coming off of a big win after beating Green Bay 24-17 on Sunday Night Football.