The New England Patriots playing playoff football in January has been commonplace for nearly two decades. In fact, the Patriots' run of 11 consecutive division titles and playoff appearances are the longest active streaks of their kind in the NFL.
Both streaks are very much in danger of being snapped in 2020, though.
The Patriots' odds of earning a playoff spot took a substantial hit Sunday in a 27-20 loss to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. It was one of the easier games remaining on New England's schedule.
Here are ESPN's Football Power Index projections for the Patriots after their Week 11 defeat in Houston.
|ESPN FPI||Playoffs||Division||Final W/L|
So, a less than 10 percent chance to make the playoffs and an even less likelihood of another division title. For what it's worth, FiveThirtyEight's model gives the Patriots only an eight percent chance to secure a playoff spot and just a three percent chance of winning the division crown.
The Patriots are two games out in the wild card race, but there are three teams ahead of them. They also have several tough matchups left on the schedule, including four games against teams -- the Dolphins, Cardinals, Rams and Bills -- with a good chance of making the playoffs.
New England, at this rate, is probably better off playing for a high pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft than trying to chase a playoff spot. The Patriots would have the No. 12 pick in Round 1 if the season ended today.