Playoff picture for the Pats

Photo from the Boston Herald
Pats fans got a nice Christmas present this past weekend - an 11th AFC East title and a victory that put Baltimore almost out of playoff contention.

Now, with the Pats in the playoffs, they're playing for seeding.

Per Ben Volin (tweet below), they could still finish as high as the 1 seed and as low as the 4 seed if results don't go their way. If the Patriots win and Denver loses, then they'll get #1. If they win and Denver wins, they'll get the 2 seed. If the Pats lose, Cincinnati wins and Indianapolis loses, then they would get the 3 seed. If they lose and Cinci and Indy both win, then the Patriots will finish 4th.

The Patriots shouldn't lose against Buffalo, but if that should happen, the Patriots should be rooting for Cincinnati to eliminate Baltimore from contention for the 6th seed. Other than the New York Giants, the Baltimore Ravens have been our toughest matchup in the post-season. As far as the other teams in play for the 6th seed, Miami currently sits in the 6 seed and would get in if they win and Baltimore loses or if they win and the Chargers win, according to CBS Sports.

For Baltimore to get in, they need to win and San Diego or Miami to lose, or San Diego, Miami, and Pittsburgh all lose.

San Diego needs to win and Miami and Baltimore both to lose.

Pittsburgh needs a win and everyone else needs to lose.

Kansas City is already locked into the 5 seed, so if the Patriots should fall into the 4 seed, they'll match up with KC in the first round.

The only team I would say would give the Patriots any trouble out of those teams would be Baltimore, given the recent history in the playoffs. Miami might, but they beat us in Miami, and I don't think any of the teams besides Baltimore could come into Gillette and beat us.

K.C. might if we get the 4 seed, but K.C. has proven that they struggle against elite opposition.

But all of this only becomes relevant if we lose, and the chances are slim to none since we play Buffalo. The chances are that the Patriots will end up with a 1st round bye. But we'll see - there is still one more weekend of football to be played before we know who plays who.

Twitter - @ConorJF1016