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How Patriots can clinch No. 5 seed in Week 18

The Patriots are headed to the playoffs and head into Week 18 with a shot at the AFC East title and the No. 2 overall seed. We break down what they need to do and where they can land in the 2022 NFL playoffs.

New England Patriots huddle during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on December 06, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Sunday update: The Dolphins defeated the Patriots on Sunday, which means New England can’t get any higher seeding than No. 5. They will need the Raiders to lose or tie against the Chargers tonight for that to happen. If the Raiders win, the Patriots get the No. 6 seed.

The New England Patriots travel to face the Miami Dolphins in Week 18 with playoff positioning all over the place. The Patriots are headed to the playoffs, but they could be anywhere from the No. 2 seed all the way down to the No. 7 seed.

The 10-6 Patriots are tied with the Buffalo Bills atop the AFC East. The Bills hold the tiebreaker due to divisional record. The teams split their season series and Buffalo is 4-1 in the division while New England is 3-2. If the Patriots lose, they cannot win the division. If they beat the Dolphins, they can claim the division with a Bills loss or tie. If the Patriots tie the Dolphins, they can claim the division with a Bills loss.

If the Patriots do not win the division, they would be anywhere from the No. 5 seed to the No. 7 seed depending on their results coupled with the results of Colts-Jaguars and Chargers-Raiders. If the Patriots do win the division, they could be anywhere from the No. 2 seed to the No. 4 seed. They opened the weekend with a shot at the No. 1 seed, but the Chiefs Saturday win foreclosed that option.

The Patriots are 6.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook heading into Miami. The Dolphins won the first game this season, beating New England 17-16 in Week 1.