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Опубликовано linchao - пт, 01/18/2019 - 09:08

The New England Patriots took care of business against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday to keep pace with the best teams atop the AFC. The Pittsburgh Steelers fell apart against the Los Angeles Chargers and now their focus should only be on simply making the postseason and not getting a first round bye.AFC(10-2) Kansas City Chiefs; games left vs Ravens Lawrence Guy Color Rush Jersey , vs Chargers, @ Seahawks, vs Raiders(9-3) New England Patriots - head-to-head tiebreaker vs Houston Texans; games left @ Dolphins, @ Steelers, vs Bills, vs Jets(9-3) Houston Texans; games left vs Colts, @ Jets, @ Eagles, vs Jaguars(7-4-1) Pittsburgh Steelers; games left @ Raiders, vs Patriots, @ Saints, vs Bengals(9-3) Los Angeles Chargers; games left vs Bengals, @ Chiefs, vs Ravens, @ Broncos(7-5) Baltimore Ravens; games left @ Chiefs, vs Buccaneers, @ Chargers, vs BrownsIn the hunt: (6-6) Miami Dolphins; (6-6) Indianapolis Colts; (6-6) Denver Broncos; (6-6) Tennessee TitansIf we look at the remaining schedules over the final quarter of the season, the Houston Texans have the easiest schedule , while the Patriots have the second-easiest. If the Patriots can get past the Steelers in Pittsburgh, then New England will be in great position to solidify a first round bye.The Steelers, Chargers, and Ravens all play two games against teams currently in the playoff picture, while the Chiefs play their next three games against playoff-caliber teams. Most of these games are against one another, so there will be some destruction among those teams currently in the playoff picture.But what if the Steelers lose to both the Patriots and the Saints and finish the season 9-6-1? The Ravens could steal a game against the Chiefs or (more probably) the Chargers and take care of business against the Buccaneers and Browns to finish 10-6 and win the AFC North. Meanwhile, the Patriots best path to the #1 seed is for the Chiefs to lose any of their next three games because New England holds the head-to-head tiebreaker with both the Chiefs and Texans. If all three teams finish with identical records, then the the Patriots have the tiebreaker and will be the top seed. Here are the tiebreakers between the Patriots and other contenders in the AFC (Pittsburgh has a tie and tiebreakers are unlikely to come into play, so I’m not including them):Chiefs: Patriots hold the head-to-head.Texans: Patriots hold the head-to-head.Chargers: Undetermined. If the Chargers and Patriots finish the season with the same record, they will also have matching conference records, meaning the “common games” tiebreaker comes into play. Both teams will have played the Chiefs, Bills, Titans, and Steelers.Los Angeles is currently 3-1 in these games with one remaining against the Chiefs, while New England is 2-1 with games against the Bills and Steelers. The Chargers likely have to defeat the Chiefs in order to win the division (FiveThirtyEight says the Chiefs are near 100% locks to win the division if they beat the Chargers), and so they would likely be 4-1 in these common games if it ever came to tiebreakers with the Patriots. New England would have to beat both the Bills and Steelers in order to force the next tiebreaker of “strength of victory.”Fortunately for New England, they’re well positioned in this category with wins against the 8-win Chicago Bears, 9-win Texans, and 10-win Chiefs. They have also defeated the 6-win Dolphins Steve Grogan Color Rush Jersey , Colts, and Vikings. The Chargers’ best victories have come against the 7-win Seahawks and Steelers, and the 6-win Titans. In fact, the Chargers have the second-weakest strength of victory in the AFC (ahead of only the 2-win Oakland Raiders).So while the Patriots will first have to get past the Steelers and Bills, they’d be well-positioned to beat the Chargers on tiebreakers if it came to it.Chiefs and Texans: Patriots would come out on top because they have head-to-head victories against both teams.Texans and Chargers: Undetermined. In a weird twist, a three-way tie with the Texans and Chargers would render the Patriots head-to-head victory useless because the Chargers didn’t play either team. The tiebreaker would immediately skip to conference record where all three teams currently have two losses.There is technically a scenario where the Texans could lose to the Eagles in week 16, yet still claim the #1 seed. This would involve the Chargers leap-frogging the Chiefs in the AFC West, while still dropping a game (meaning the Chiefs would only win one of their final four games), along with the Patriots losing a game. This would give the Texans, Chargers, and Patriots 12-4 records, but Houston would have the best conference record at 10-2, while the other two teams would have a 9-3 conference record.But that’s incredibly unlikely.It’s more likely that we would move to the “common games” tiebreaker, but this wouldn’t come into play because there isn’t four common games among the three teams (just the Bills and Titans). So, again, we would move to the “strength of victory” tiebreaker. As previously mentioned, the Patriots would likely hold this tiebreaker over the Chargers and they would also likely hold this over the Texans. Houston has played more 6+ win teams than the Chargers (Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins Trey Flowers Jersey , Broncos, Titans), but their only victories against playoff-projected teams are against Dallas and Washington in the NFC. Basically, the Patriots success during their difficult schedule should boost the Patriots over their AFC rivals if the conference record and common games tiebreakers don’t determine a victor.Chiefs and Chargers: This tiebreaker can’t happen because the Chiefs and Chargers would first have to determine their division winner and then that division winner would be compared to the PatriotsNFC(11-1) Los Angeles Rams - clinched division title(10-2) New Orleans Saints(8-4) Chicago Bears(7-5) Dallas Cowboys(7-5) Seattle Seahawks(6-5) Washington - plays Monday Night at Philadelphia EaglesIn the hunt: (6-5-1) Minnesota Vikings; (6-6) Carolina Panthers; (5-6) Philadelphia Eagles FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — It’s not every day that a team finds itself cheering for the one that beat it the season before in the Super Bowl.This isn’t the typical season for the New England Patriots.Patriots players erupted in a loud cheer in the locker room as Eagles kicker Jake Elliott’s 35-yard field goal sailed through the uprights as time expired to give Philadelphia a victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.Combined with the Patriots’ 24-12 win over the Buffalo Bills just minutes before to snap a two-game losing streak, New England moved back into the No. 2 spot in the AFC with one game to play. A Patriots win over the Jets next week would give New England a first-round bye in the playoffs.“Fly, Eagles, Fly!” receiver Julian Edelman said afterward.It was a perfect ending to a less than perfect day for the Patriots.New England (10-5) earned their 10th straight AFC East title with Sony Michel running for 116 yards and a touchdown. It also improved to 7-0 at home this season and became the first franchise in NFL history to earn playoff berths in 10 straight seasons. It marked the Patriots’ fifth straight win over the Bills (5-10) and their 26th series sweep of Buffalo.Tom Brady went 13 of 24 for 126 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions — his lowest output since he passed for 123 yards in a 2003 loss to the Bills.“We didn’t have our best day in the passing game. But it felt good to win. At this time of year, whatever it takes to win, that’s what you’ve got to do,” Brady said. “And we still have one hugely important game left. We have to finish strong.”But with the touchdown he joined Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers with at least 10 seasons of 4,000-plus passing yards. Manning has 14 such seasons, Brees entered the day with 12 and Rivers has 10.It was Michel’s fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season.It helped mask Brady’s mild day. The two interceptions were his third time with multiple picks in a game this season. He now has 11 interceptions in 2018, his most since 2013.Brady’s touchdown pass of the game came thanks to a heads-up play by Julian Edelman in the third quarter .Leading 14-6 and facing fourth-and-4 on the Bills 32, Brady found Edelman over the middle on a quick slant. Edelman was tackled and rolled up by safety Rafael Bush, but Edelman never touched the ground. He got up and sprinted into the end zone.Brady’s interceptions were among three turnovers by the Patriots on the day, but Buffalo was only able to turn them into three points. Leading 24-6 in fourth quarter Deatrich Wise Jr Color Rush Jersey , he was replaced by backup Brian Hoyer.Asked why he pulled Brady with more than six minutes to play, coach Bill Belichick said because “I thought it was the right thing to do.”Bills back running back LeSean McCoy returned after a one-game absence with a left hamstring injury. He had a quiet return, rushing six times for 9 yards. He didn’t play the first series of the game and said afterward he was benched by coach Sean McDermott after a disagreement for which McCoy took responsibility.“We had an issue. He corrected me. That’s all,” McCoy said.Rookie quarterback Josh Allen was bottled up for most of the day, limited to 20 of 41 for 217 yards with two interceptions. He ran five times for 30 yards. Buffalo finished with 72 rushing yards, the first time in five games it failed to rush for 100 or more.“Gotta get better,” Allen said. “We’ll learn from this one. New England is the team that teams want to be. The trajectory of where we want to put this team and how they can sustain success, so yeah we’re gonna learn from this one.”After going three plays and out on their first drive of the day, the Patriots went to the run game to score the game’s first touchdown. New England ran six straight times, capped by a 4-yard TD run by Michel. It was Michel’s first touchdown since New England’s Week 12 win over the Jets.Following a Buffalo punt, the Patriots crossed into Bills’ territory again, but gave the ball back when Rex Burkhead fumbled. But Stephen Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar.After both teams exchanged punts, New England pushed its lead to 14-0 in the second quarter via a 27-yard touchdown run by James White .NO OFFENSEBuffalo’s first six drives of the game were a regression for an offense that had shown promise in recent games. The Bills went three plays and out three straight times, followed by six plays and the missed field goal; three-and-out; and one play and an interception by Allen.The Bills returned the favor when Lorenzo Alexander picked off an errant pass by Brady. But Buffalo again failed to convert the turnover into points, turning the ball over on downs when Allen’s deep, fourth-and-3 pass for Robert Foster fell incomplete.INJURIESBills: LB Julian Stanford left in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. … WR Isaiah McKenzie was evaluated for a head injury in the second quarter but returned in the second half. … WR Deonte Thompson left in the third quarter with a toe injury.Patriots: WR Cordarrelle Patterson left with a knee injury in the third quarter.UP NEXTBills: Host Miami next Sunday.Patriots: Host the Jets.