Sunday results update: The Patriots fell to the Buffalo Bills 35-23 on Sunday. Nyheim Hines returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and an inspired Bills team took the win. The New York Jets lost to the Miami Dolphins, but the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns. This means the Dolphins advance to the playoffs as the No. 7 seed, and the Steelers and Patriots are eliminated from contention.
Saturday PM update: The Jaguars defeated the Titans, so the first leg of the Patriots playoff parlay is a win. The Jets and Browns will play Sunday in an attempt to complete the parlay.
The New England Patriots head into Week 18 theoretically in control of their own playoff destiny. If they beat the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, they’re headed to the 2023 NFL Playoffs with the final wild card berth.
Beating the Bills is no easy task, and Buffalo still has something to play for in Week 18. They are currently the No. 2 seed but they could drop to the No. 3 seed with a loss or potentially force the AFC title game to a neutral site if they win. All that is to say, don’t expect the Bills to rest starters in this game. It’s no surprise then that the Patriots are a 7.5-point underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook with +275 moneyline odds.
If the Patriots lose to the Bills, they still have a road to the playoffs. They would need the Jacksonville Jaguars to beat the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, and then the New York Jets to beat the Miami Dolphins and the Cleveland Browns to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
The current moneyline odds on those three results at DraftKings Sportsbook are Jaguars -275, Jets +155, and Browns +120. You can bet each one individually, or if you think all three will hit, you could bet a three-leg parlay. If you placed a bet on all three events happening, your odds would be +672. The implied probability on +672 odds is 13%. Those are not great odds, but the chance is there.
If you think this is the likely road to the playoffs for the Patriots, you could go for a fourth leg and add in the Patriots losing to the Bills. That changes the odds to +874. The implied probability in that instance is 10.3%.
The Jaguars beating the Titans is the most likely to happen. Jacksonville has won four straight and faces a Titans squad that will be starting backup QB Joshua Dobbs. They can win it on the back of Derrick Henry, but it’s an uphill climb. The other two games are a little more unpredictable with the Jets and Browns both having nothing to play for in Week 18. Add in the Jets starting Joe Flacco against a Dolphins squad starting third string QB Skylar Thompson, and there is a whole lot of uncertainty there.