Week 14 AFC playoff picture: The Patriots are back on top

New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
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The Patriots missed the playoffs in 2020 for the first time since 2008, but any thoughts of an extended decline in New England have gone out the window.

Monday night’s 14-10 win over the Bills was the seventh straight for the Patriots and they now find themselves with the top seed in the AFC playoff race. They’ve also moved to a comfortable lead over Buffalo in the AFC East heading into a bye week that will allow them to rest up ahead of the final four games of the season.

When one team goes up another must go down and Buffalo’s fortunes are cloudier than they’ve been at any other point this season. They’ve stumbled to a 3-4 record since starting 4-1 and now have a trip to Tampa on the schedule with the Steelers and Colts hot on their tails. Both of those teams have beaten the Bills this season, so it would be a good time for the defending AFC East champs to right the ship.

Here’s how the whole AFC playoff picture shapes up heading into Week 14:

1. Patriots (9-4) The Patriots have allowed 36 points over their last five games and they’ll have an extended period to come up with the right answers for Jonathan Taylor and the Colts in Week 15.

2. Titans (8-4) They looked out of gas in Week 12, but had last week off and they get a chance to get right against the Jaguars this weekend.

3. Ravens (8-4) Cornerback Marlon Humphrey‘s season-ending injury is a blow to their defense and they’ve only scored 61 points the last four weeks, so there’s a lot to figure out on both sides of the ball in Baltimore.

4. Chiefs (8-4) Sunday’s win was their fifth in a row, but the Chargers remain on their heels with a rematch on tap for Week 15.

5. Chargers (7-5) Their sloppiness allowed the Bengals back into Sunday’s game for a bit before they righted the ship and they should be able to keep the pressure on Kansas City by handling the Giants at home this weekend.

6. Bengals (7-5) They came into Week 13 off back-to-back blowouts, but made too many mistakes against the Chargers to extend their winning streak.

7. Bills (7-5) While the schedule has some soft spots after they face the Bucs, they may be chasing a playoff spot instead of trying to hold onto one at that point.

8. Steelers (6-5-1) Beating the Ravens jolted some life back into the Steelers and they can’t afford a letdown in Minnesota on Thursday night.

9. Colts (7-6) They’ll return from their bye week with a home game against the Patriots and a chance to take a big step forward in the playoff race.

10. Raiders (6-6) It will be difficult to see them making the postseason if they don’t win in Kansas City on Sunday.

11. Browns (6-6) Did the bye week provide a shot in the arm to the struggling offense in Cleveland?

12. Broncos (6-6) Any hope generated by their Week 12 win over the Chargers was doused by their loss to the Chiefs, but the Lions are visiting this weekend and that could keep some fires burning in Denver.

13. Dolphins (6-7) No one’s been able to stop the Dolphins from winning the last five weeks, but they’ll have to find a way to remain in a groove despite being off this week.

14. Jets (3-9) The offense looked OK for half of Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, but the defense and kicking game were subpar all day long.

15. Jaguars (2-10) There wasn’t much fight in them against the Rams, which is probably good news for the Titans as they head into this weekend.

ELIMINATED

16. Texans (2-10) Congratulations to the first team officially eliminated from playoff contention in the NFL this season.

44 responses to “Week 14 AFC playoff picture: The Patriots are back on top

  1. Patriots back on top…. Ha ha ha sorry patriots crybabies, you thought is was all over after last season….

  2. Bills are a half game ahead of the Dolphins. Not only have they already lost the top of the AFC East mountain back to Bill they are in real danger of not even making the playoffs.

  3. It’s shaping up to be a very interesting end to the season. What happens with Josh Allen’s mega contract if they fail to make the playoffs. Can the Chiefs regain the top seed in the conference. With the Ravens decimated with injuries and Lamar struggles to carry the team all by himself, can they hold in. This makes the next few week much more interesting with so many teams in the hunt.

  4. Losing Humphrey isn’t that big of a loss for the Ravens secondary. They were turrible before he got hurt and they will still be turrible with him gone.
    It’s hard to recall a division leading team that has given up so many huge pass plays as the Ravens.

  5. Long way to go, tough games to play, NE could easily lose to the Colts, Buff in round 2 and Miami in the finale and finish 10-7 which is about where only the most optimistic predictors had them before the season started

  6. This conference actually warrants the extra Playoff spot.

    8 teams on that list could win the conference, if they hit their groove.

  7. Let’s see … Twenty straight winning seasons with Brady, one aberrational losing season in 2020, and now another extended, really long period of excellence. It must be exhausting to hate the Patriots.

  8. Belichick will never have a winning season again without Tampa Bay Tommy Brady. He’s a nothing coach without Brady. The coach is nothing and neither is the rest of the players, the Patriots only won because it was literally all Brady, he did everything.

    Belichick’s record in Cleveland is who he really is as a coach. He’s not even on Rex Ryan’s level lulz. Belichick won’t even get in the hall of fame that’s how bad he is without Brady. Pats should fire Belichick and get a coach in there that can win a few games without Brady.

    😂😂😂😂😂

  9. AFC is weak this year. Super Bowl winner comes out of the NFC.
    ==========

    Brady is playing as well as ever.. but that secondary is absolute trash.

    Will the Packers defense maintain?

    Would anyone be surprised if the Cardinals are 1-and-done?

    Cowboys? Fitting that McCarthy came from the Schottenheimer tree. Awful big-game coach.

    Rams super team has yet to materialize.

    .. I don’t see a juggernaut there.

  10. That game last night was important for the Patriots, but unfortunately, it didn’t decide anything. Long way to go still. All of us Patriots fans should enjoy the Tampa-Buffalo game and hope for Brady to take care of business. This really helps, because a split with Buffalo may be enough in that case. If Buffalo wins, The Patriots probably have to beat them again to win the division because the Bills’ other 3 games are Carolina, Atlanta and NYJ which aren’t guaranteed wins, but close enough.

  11. I hate the Patriots but greatnesses is greatness. The coaching job last night was astonishing. I just threw up.

  12. bullcharger says:
    December 7, 2021 at 10:06 am
    That game last night was important for the Patriots, but unfortunately, it didn’t decide anything. Long way to go still. All of us Patriots fans should enjoy the Tampa-Buffalo game and hope for Brady to take care of business. This really helps, because a split with Buffalo may be enough in that case. If Buffalo wins, The Patriots probably have to beat them again to win the division because the Bills’ other 3 games are Carolina, Atlanta and NYJ which aren’t guaranteed wins, but close enough.


    The Dolphins are almost as red hot as the Patriots are. Bills lose this weekend then at 7-6 they probably can’t afford to lose too many more games from there if any at all or they’ll be caught from behind.

  13. Brady is playing as well as ever.. but that secondary is absolute trash.

    Will the Packers defense maintain?

    Would anyone be surprised if the Cardinals are 1-and-done?

    Cowboys? Fitting that McCarthy came from the Schottenheimer tree. Awful big-game coach.

    Rams super team has yet to materialize.

    .. I don’t see a juggernaut there.

    The AFC?

    Chiefs defense is trash.

    Patriots are riding on their defense.., QB threw three passes against Bills

    Ravens just lost to the Steelers and are up and down like Titans?

    More ifs with the AFC.

  14. Longtimepackerfan says:
    December 7, 2021 at 10:22 am
    Brady is playing as well as ever.. but that secondary is absolute trash.

    Will the Packers defense maintain?

    Would anyone be surprised if the Cardinals are 1-and-done?

    Cowboys? Fitting that McCarthy came from the Schottenheimer tree. Awful big-game coach.

    Rams super team has yet to materialize.

    .. I don’t see a juggernaut there.

    The AFC?

    Chiefs defense is trash.

    Patriots are riding on their defense.., QB threw three passes against Bills

    Ravens just lost to the Steelers and are up and down like Titans?

    More ifs with the AFC.
    ———————-
    Neither conference has a juggernaut, like the Pats in their prime or the Manning led Colts were.

    But there are plenty of teams in each conference who are more than capable of getting to the show if they make the playoffs.

    Respect any team that makes the post season because they are all capable of beating anyone else on any given Sunday.

    This looks like it will be the most wide open post season in at least the last 23 years.

  15. Oh, the on any given Sunday argument. lol Maybe not any Juggernauts but I see several NFC teams clearly better and that is my point.

  16. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    I have gone through all of the stages with Belichick, and have come around (after anger, frustration, denial, etc.), to mad respect. He’s just that good, and I know I’ll eventually appreciate having been able to watch that kind of master at work.

    It IS a weird year, though. The Pats could still end up as a WC, or missing completely, as could about a dozen teams in the AFC.

  17. I just read that the Ravens are considering paying Lamar $45mm a year. Please, please do. You will be on the fast path to 7-10, 6-11 seasons. Right now Lamar is one of the worst QBs in the league AND you’ve been able to pay good $$ to lots of skill positions and linemen and defense. But you have a running back playing QB who literally has no idea what to do under pressure. Sure, pay him $45mm, get rid of 3-5 other really good players you can no longer afford, and continue to watch Lamar regress until he’s possibly out of the league in 5 years.

  18. Nope, not falling for it. The Patriots will win the AFC because it’s that bad. Then, the Bucs will beat them again in the super bowl. And this time, they’ll have Gronk playing and a healthier secondary by then.

  19. Could it be a Bucs-Pats Super Bowl? It’s like a movie plot.
    You know the league and the media would go crazy over that game! If you got sick of the Brady vs Belichick talk in week 4, just wait for this!!!

  20. patsfan4lifedynasty says:
    December 7, 2021 at 12:02 pm
    The road to the SB goes through Foxborough…again.

    18 13 Rate This

    ——————

    You bet, Jets fan.

  21. Could it be a Bucs-Pats Super Bowl? It’s like a movie plot.
    ==========

    Great working title already;

    Super Bowl, a horror story

  22. Longtimepackerfan says:
    December 7, 2021 at 10:22 am

    The AFC?

    Chiefs defense is trash.

    Patriots are riding on their defense.., QB threw three passes against Bills

    Ravens just lost to the Steelers and are up and down like Titans?

    More ifs with the AFC.
    ———————————

    True that the Chiefs D started the season horribly, but they’re on track now and have only allowed 11.2 PPG over the last 5 games. Dismiss them at your peril.

  23. How many hits did Mac sustain yesterday? And, conversely, Allen?

    If you want to keep your QB upright and available to play, run the ball. $$ talks, but it doesn’t help that your 40M QB is on IR.

  24. Longtimepackerfan says:
    December 7, 2021 at 11:13 am
    Oh, the on any given Sunday argument. lol Maybe not any Juggernauts but I see several NFC teams clearly better and that is my point.
    —–———————————-
    Yes, but it doesn’t always work out the way we think it should.

    If it did we would all be rich from betting on sports.

    As another sports cliche goes, there’s a reason why they play the games.

  25. Longtimepackerfan says:
    December 7, 2021 at 9:24 am
    AFC is weak this year. Super Bowl winner comes out of the NFC.
    —————————————

    afc 24-22-1 NFC 22-24-1

  26. Everyone can agree that Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL ever. I wish he was the coach of my team.

  27. footballpat says:
    December 7, 2021 at 3:42 pm
    Longtimepackerfan says:
    December 7, 2021 at 9:24 am
    AFC is weak this year. Super Bowl winner comes out of the NFC.
    —————————————

    afc 24-22-1 NFC 22-24-1

    Are those the stats of AFC vs NFC this year? If so, I’m not impressed. Only 1 win/loss from being equal. Yeah, that’s what I call domination. But I do think that those saying the AFC is weak this year are also off the mark. The team(s) I root for are mostly in the NFC, but the AFC is not weak. I believe the Superbowl winner could easily come out of either conference. Stay tuned folks….

  28. Ummm, the discussion is about teams that would make it to the big dance not the competition between the two conferences. Did you notice that PFT has 3 NFC teams out of the top 4 in its power rankings???

  29. Listen I do believe the Patriots will most likely win the AFCE, but before we all crown them the next Lombardi, take a quick look at the games they win and lost this season. There is valid argument that they really haven’t beaten a winning solid team outside of Monday night and that game was all on coaching. Not a Patriot hater but again, take a look at their wins this season. Not a real strong opponent outside of maybe 2 games.
    The Bills are definitely going in the wrong direction as many teams are. The AFC representative this SB will probably not be the best team, will be more a product of winning tie breakers and home field advantage in the playoffs.

  30. What does it say about the Bills when New England lined up to run and the Bill put 11 players in the box with all the LBs on run blitz, and they still churned up over 220 yards on the ground.

  31. I’ve never been a Patriot hater but I think it sucks that they’ve recovered so quickly and it wouldn’t shock me at all if they win the Super Bowl this season. And you know what…Belichick is a better coach than Brady is a qb.

  32. gronkhof says:
    December 7, 2021 at 5:50 pm
    What does it say about the Bills when New England lined up to run and the Bill put 11 players in the box with all the LBs on run blitz, and they still churned up over 220 yards on the ground.

    It says the Bills are still the Bills…

  33. To Mr skcusoirolf – the Patriots haven’t played anyone? You don’t win 7 games in a row regardless of who you are playing and get lucky. The Patriots will win the super bowl and haters will still be saying “but the Pats didn’t beat anyone good”. Clueless…

  34. IronCurtainComing says:
    December 7, 2021 at 11:43 am

    I just read that the Ravens are considering paying Lamar $45mm a year. Please, please do. You will be on the fast path to 7-10, 6-11 seasons. Right now Lamar is one of the worst QBs in the league AND you’ve been able to pay good $$ to lots of skill positions and linemen and defense. But you have a running back playing QB who literally has no idea what to do under pressure. Sure, pay him $45mm, get rid of 3-5 other really good players you can no longer afford, and continue to watch Lamar regress until he’s possibly out of the league in 5 years.
    _____________________________________________________

    Lamar will get a well-deserved 50 million a year. Don’t matter if Ravens are 0-17 after that. He deserves his money just like all successful and “not so” successful QBs before him. You guys crack me up with all you’re Lamar predictions. So far, he has proved you wrong at almost every corner. All he has left to do is win a SB where 30 some odd starting QBs have not done during his tenure either. The hate is strong with this one.

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