NFL

The Patriots’ playoff chances increase after the Jaguars beat the Titans to win the AFC South

The Patriots’ playoff chances increase after the Jaguars beat the Titans to win the AFC South

Patriots 1st Down: Where the Pats stand in Week 18


Patriots 1st Down: Where the Pats stand in Week 18

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FOXBORO – The Patriots face a tough task on Sunday as they hope to clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Buffalo Bills. But another possible path to the postseason for New England opened Saturday in Florida.

Sunday is sure to be an emotional day in Orchard Park as the Bills take the field for the first time since safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and had to receive CPR on Monday Night Football. The game was delayed, then canceled. Hamlin continues to make progress in a Cincinnati hospital and spoke with teammates via FaceTime on Thursday.

On the field, Sunday will be a crucial day for the NFL playoff picture. With a win over Buffalo, New England will clinch a playoff spot. The loss means the Patriots will need help extending their season, and that help started Saturday.

The Jacksonville Jaguars narrowly defeated the Tennessee Titans for the AFC South title. With the Titans loss, they are out of playoff contention. On the other hand, the result was great news for New England.

Going into the weekend, the Patriots needed help from three teams to keep alive a possible scenario where they could lose to the Bills but still make the playoffs at 8-9.

The first criteria was to beat the Jaguars, as Jacksonville will not be able to cut New England for the final wild card spot. Had the Jaguars lost, the Patriots’ only option would have been to beat Buffalo on Sunday.

Instead, if the Jets beat the Dolphins and the Browns beat the Steelers, New England is tied for the second straight postseason, regardless of what happens against Buffalo.



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