NFL playoff picture: How loss to Colts makes Pats' pursuit of No. 1 seed tougher


The New England Patriots' run as the No. 1 seed in the AFC has come to an end, at least for now.

The Patriots needed a win to leapfrog the Kansas City Chiefs in the conference standings and reclaim the top seed, but they lost 27-17 to the Indianapolis Colts in their Week 15 game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night.

FiveThirtyEight's predictive model gives the Patriots just a 23 percent chance of earning the No. 1 seed following their defeat to the Colts. The Pats need the Chiefs to lose another game to have any chance of getting back the top seed.

New England was briefly the No. 3 seed behind the Titans but now is No. 2 following Tennessee's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon. Thanks to their 7-2 conference record, the Patriots would own tiebreakers over the Chiefs and Titans

WATCH: Kyle Dugger, Michael Pittman ejected from Patriots-Colts game

Despite their loss Saturday, the Patriots remain atop the AFC East.

But the Buffalo Bills' defeat of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday means they'll enter their Week 16 showdown against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium with a chance to take back first place in the division. A Bills win against the Patriots in Week 16 would give both teams a 9-6 record. In that scenario, Buffalo would have the division record tiebreaker over New England and sit atop the AFC East.

The Patriots still control their own destiny in the AFC East race, though, and a win versus the Bills next week would make it really tough for Buffalo to prevent New England from taking the division crown.

Edelman reacts to Mac Jones' struggles with simple tweet

Here's an updated look at the AFC playoff picture entering Sunday's Week 15 matchups. This story will be updated through Tuesday night's games.

In a Playoff Spot

1. Kansas City Chiefs, 10-4 (AFC West leader)

2. New England Patriots, 9-5 (AFC East leader)

3. Tennessee Titans, 9-5 (AFC South leader)

4. Cincinnati Bengals, 8-6 (AFC North leader)

5. Indianapolis Colts, 8-6 (First wild card)

6. Los Angeles Chargers, 8-6 (Second wild card)

7. Buffalo Bills, 8-6 (Third wild card)

On the Bubble

8. Baltimore Ravens, 8-6

9. Cleveland Browns, 7-6

10. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-6-1

11. Miami Dolphins, 7-7

12. Denver Broncos, 7-7

13. Las Vegas Raiders, 6-7