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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 17 if you are a New England Patriots fan

Week 17 is here and the New England Patriots are in the thick of the playoff picture. Who should Patriotsd fans root for to help their chances?

New England Patriots fans in the stands were well represented. The Indianapolis Colts host the New England Patriots on December 18, 2021 in a Saturday night NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Results: The Patriots crushed the Jaguars and clinched a playoff berth thanks to the Dolphins loss to the Titans. The Bills beat the Falcons so New England will need a win and help in Week 18. The the Raiders beat the Colts, the Bengals beat the Chiefs and the Ravens lost to the Rams.

The New England Patriots are on the verge of a playoff berth, but they’re likely a little bit disappointed at how the situation has settled entering the final two weeks. The Patriots lost to the Bills in fairly decisive fashion last week and now head into Week 17 without the AFC East lead.

The Patriots are 9-6 and tied with the Bills in the division. The two teams split their head-to-head series and now Buffalo has the tiebreaker due to divisional record. The Patriots come into Week 17 with a pair of clinching scenarios for a basic playoff berth. If they win and the Dolphins or Raiders lose, New England is in the playoffs. But they’ll need help if they want a crack at the division title.

If you are a Patriots fan, you’ll have a few games you’ll be paying attention to as they look to improve their chances of a playoff berth.

Bills vs. Falcons

This is an obvious one. The Patriots need a Bills loss to have any shot at winning the AFC East title.

The Bills are 14-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Dolphins @ Titans

Miami is a game back of the Patriots. The Patriots theoretically could still climb ahead of Tennessee in the standings, but they could not claim the No. 1 seed so it’s really just some basic positioning at stake if the Titans lose. But Miami could still overtake New England so Pats fans should be rooting for the proverbial bird in the hand.

The Dolphins are 3.5-point underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Raiders @ Colts

The Patriots are tied with the Colts and both teams are a game up on the 8-7 Raiders. Indy has the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Patriots. If the Colts win, Las Vegas is eliminated from playoff contention. If the Raiders win, they remain alive and the Colts drop behind the Patriots in the wild card standings. New England benefits either way. A Raiders loss is one of the clinching scenarios for a playoff berth, while anything that gets the Colts closer to out of the playoff picture is probably beneficial given how dangerous they are.

The Raiders are seven-point underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Chargers vs. Broncos

The Patriots sit a game up on the Chargers and two games up on the Broncos. The Patriots can handle their business with wins, but a little help is always welcome. Root for the Broncos.

The Chargers are 6.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Ravens vs. Rams

This is similar to the Chargers-Broncos game, but with the added benefit that a Rams win won’t impact the Patriots unless we get to the strength of victory tiebreaker.

The Ravens are 3.5-point underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Chiefs vs. Bengals

While a Dolphins win is not ideal for the Patriots, a Titans loss leaves open the door for the No. 1 seed. If the Patriots finish tied with the Chiefs for the best record, they likely get the edge based on the conference record tiebreaker. The Patriots would need a Bengals win this week and loss next week, a Titans loss either of these final two weeks, and likely a pair of Bills losses. It’s unlikely, but if you want to root for the No. 1 seed, root for the Bengals this week.

The Chiefs are 5.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook.