Monday results update: The Chargers beat the Colts and took one of the coveted wild card spots left in the AFC. The Patriots will be out if they lose next week to the Dolphins, but if they win, they are still in the hunt.
Saturday results update: The Bengals eked out a 22-18 victory, sending New England to 7-8 and down to 9th in the AFC playoff standings, as the Jaguars leapfrog them with the loss. Their loss puts them in dire straits, but they won’t be eliminated this week. They will need a lot of help and to win out for a shot.
The New England Patriots host the Cincinnati Bengals on Christmas Eve and will look to keep their playoff hopes alive. New England has not been eliminated from playoff contention, but three losses in four games has them in a tough spot heading into Christmas Eve. The Patriots are three-point home underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook, and while they can’t be eliminated from playoff contention this week, they badly need a win.
Patriots playoff chances
Odds to make playoffs: Yes +550, No -750
Remaining opponents: Week 16 vs. Bengals, Week 17 vs. Dolphins, Week 18 @ Bills
The Patriots cannot win the AFC East title, sitting four games back of the first place Bills with three games remaining. New England entered the week tied with the Jets, but the Patriots have the tiebreaker edge after a sweep of the head-to-head series. The Jets lost to the Jaguars, leaving both teams having a 7-8 record and sitting a half game back of the Patriots in the overall standings.
New England is a game back of the Chargers and Dolphins for the final two wild card berths. The Patriots and Dolphins face off in Week 17, and that game could prove to be an eliminator of sorts for one of the two teams. The Patriots have not played the Chargers, so any tie would come down to conference record or common games tiebreakers.
Current playoff standings
5. Ravens, 9-5
6. Chargers, 8-6
7. Dolphins, 8-6