NFL playoff scenarios Week 17: How Patriots can clinch wild card spot

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Here's how Patriots can clinch a playoff berth in Week 17 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The AFC East title is now a longshot, but the New England Patriots still have six ways in which they can clinch a playoff berth in Week 17 and return to the postseason following a one-year absence.

As it is, the Patriots (9-6) have a 94 percent chance of making the postseason, per the New York Times' playoff simulator, but they can make it official so long as they defeat or tie against the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) on Sunday at Gillette Stadium and get help in some other areas.

New England cannot clinch a postseason berth if it loses to Jacksonville, a team which has never won in Foxboro in its 27-year history (0-8, including the postseason).

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The main clinching scenarios for the Patriots involve beating the Jaguars and either the Miami Dolphins losing to the Tennessee Titans or the Las Vegas Raiders losing to the Indianapolis Colts. New England plays in Miami, which has won seven straight games to move to 8-7, in Week 18.

Here are all of the scenarios in which the Patriots can clinch either the AFC East title or at least a wild card berth in Week 17.

New England clinches playoff berth with:

  1. NE win + MIA loss or tie OR

  2. NE win + LV loss or tie OR

  3. NE tie + MIA loss + LV loss + LAC loss or tie OR

  4. NE tie + MIA loss + BAL loss or tie OR

  5. NE tie + LV loss + LAC loss + BAL loss + PIT loss or tie OR

  6. NE tie + LV loss + LAC loss or tie + BAL loss or tie + MIA win + BUF win

NOTE: There are other clinching scenarios for New England that involve multiple tie games.