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How can Patriots clinch a playoff berth in Week 18?

The Patriots are on the verge of a playoff berth. We break down how they can clinch a spot in the 2023 NFL Playoffs in Week 18.

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots reacts against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Gillette Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Sunday results update: The Patriots fell to the Buffalo Bills, 35-23. New England couldn’t overcome an inspired Bills team that returned two separate kickoffs for touchdowns, including on the first play of the game. The Patriots have been eliminated from playoff contention as the Miami Dolphins defeated the New York Jets to claim the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoff bracket.


Saturday results update: The Jaguars beat the Titans, which is one part of what the Patriots need to give them a shot at the playoffs if they end up losing to the Bills on Sunday. They would need Miami and Pittsburgh to lose to make that scenario work.


The New England Patriots enter Week 18 vs. the Buffalo Bills with a chance to clinch a playoff berth in the 2022 postseason. The Patriots have lost four of the past six games but were able to pick up a win over the Miami Dolphins last week. That win put the Pats in a good position to get into the playoffs. Here we’ll look at the scenarios for New England to clinch in Week 18 on Sunday.

The Patriots clinch a playoff berth with a win. That’s the simple one. If the Patriots tie and the Dolphins tie/lose and the Steelers tie/lose, the Patriots would get in. If the Patriots lose on Sunday, they also get in if Miami and Pittsburgh lose and the Jaguars win/tie with the Titans on Saturday. That pretty much covers it if you’re a Pats fan.

The Bills will have a better handle on whether or not they’ll need to play this game out after Saturday. If the Chiefs beat the Raiders, the Bills can’t get the 1-seed in the AFC. If the Raiders somehow beat K.C., then the Bills have a chance to get the bye with a win over the Pats. Buffalo also could have incentive to beat the Pats to avoid them in the first round in the 2-7 matchup. That would allow the Bills to face either the Dolphins, Steelers or Jaguars/Titans depending on how things go.