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Heading into what’s sure to be an emotional regular-season finale against the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots playoff scenarios certainly won’t be the main focus for most, given the events surrounding Damar Hamlin.

But make no mistake about it. While Hamlin will undoubtedly be on everyone’s mind as he thankfully continues to progress following that scary scene this past Monday night, Bill Belichick & Co. are coming to Buffalo to win.

But even if the Pats don’t leave Highmark Stadium with a victory, they can still reach the NFL Playoffs for a second straight season.

Patriots playoff scenarios: How the Patriots clinch a playoff spot in Week 18

New England Patriots helmet
New England Patriots helmet | Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coming into Week 18, several Patriots playoff scenarios are in play as New England, currently sitting in the No. 7 slot in the AFC, can win, lose, or tie and still get in.

While they own the same 8-8 record as the other teams still eligible for the conference’s final wild-card berth, they’re the only team fortunate enough to be in a “win and you’re in” situation. Well, that’s not exactly true, as the Jacksonville Jaguars are in a similar situation.

But that only holds true for the Jags as it pertains to winning the AFC South. Jacksonville would need all sorts of help for a wild-card berth in the event of a loss to the Tennessee Titans.

As for the Patriots, here are all the scenarios that get them into the playoffs in Week 18.

  • Patriots win vs. Bills
  • Patriots tie vs. Bills + Dolphins lose or tie vs. Jets + Steelers lose or tie vs. Browns
  • Dolphins lose vs. Jets + Steelers lose vs. Browns + Jaguars win or tie vs. Titans

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