NFL Playoffs Photos: Patriots vs. Bills Week 18 scenario updated.Originally published on NBC Sports Boston
Week 18 of the 2022 NFL season kicked off Saturday with two games, both of which impacted the New England Patriots in the AFC playoff race.
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Las Vegas Raiders, 31-13, at Allegiant Stadium to earn the No. 1 seed and playoff bid. The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Tennessee Titans 20-16 to clinch the AFC South title and make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The Patriots can only advance to the playoffs as the 7th seed. The 2nd seed will host the 7th seed in the Wild Card Weekend.
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New England’s path to the postseason is simple: win and you’re in. But thanks to the Jaguars’ victory, the Patriots’ path to the playoffs doesn’t require beating the Bills on Sunday.
Here’s how Saturday’s two games impacted the Patriots’ playoff scenario.
The Chiefs’ win means the only potential wild card weekend opponents for the Patriots are the Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, the only teams capable of finishing in the second seed. A win over the Patriots would give the Bills the second seed. They also managed to clinch the No. 2 seed by losing to the Patriots and the Bengals to the Baltimore Ravens. If the Bengals beat the Ravens and the Patriots beat the Bills, they’ll be the second seed.
As a result of the Jaguars defeating the Titans, the Patriots were able to retain the 7th seed despite losing to the Bills. That would also require the New York Jets to beat the Miami Dolphins and the Cleveland Browns to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Patriots-Bills kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM ET.