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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jordy McElroy

AFC playoff picture: Patriots drop significantly in postseason rankings

The AFC playoff picture is looking drastically different than it was a week ago for the New England Patriots.

After dropping a brutal Thanksgiving Day road loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, the Patriots have fallen from the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff picture to the No. 8 spot, which now has them on the outside looking in, if the season ended today.

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And to make matters worse, the New York Jets have quietly climbed back into the playoff picture with Mike White as their starting quarterback.

That leaves the Patriots in a state of desperation when hosting the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night. Another loss would bury them in both the playoff rankings and AFC East divisional standings.

The good news is a path to the postseason still exists for the Patriots, but the bad news is they’re giving themselves fewer branching options to get there. Here’s what the AFC playoff picture looks like after 12 weeks of football.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

2. Miami Dolphins (8-3)

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

3. Tennessee Titans (7-4)

Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

4. Baltimore Ravens (7-4)

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

5. Buffalo Bills (8-3)

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

6. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

7. New York Jets (7-4)

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

8. New England Patriots (6-5)

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

9. Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

10. Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1)

Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports
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