As the New England Patriots head into their week five game against the Detroit Lions, what do their potential records say about their playoff chances? The team is 1-3 on the season after two losses in a row to the Ravens and Packers. Both losses are understandable, especially given the Patriots’ current quarterback situation.
As we head into week five of the 2022 NFL season and slowly begin seeing bye weeks, the playoff picture will begin to form. At 1-3, New England has a ton of work to do, but nothing is impossible until it simply does not happen.
On Reddit, a chart can be found that was developed by FiveThirtyEight and referenced from Pro Football Reference. The chart gives each possible record a percentage chance at making the playoffs. The chart uses data from 1990-2013, so even though it’s a large sample, the data is just a bit old.
Also, this was when 16 game seasons were still a thing in the NFL. However, the chart can be viewed here and is very useful at giving each team a percent chance at making the postseason. What does the chart say about the team’s chances at making the playoffs?
Well, at their current 1-3 record, the chart indicates that the team has 15% chance at making the postseason. Those a tough odds to swallow for the Patriots. A win on Sunday against the Lions improves them to 2-3. A 2-3 record would give them a 22% chance at the postseason. Still low, but not as low.
Including their game on Sunday, the Patriots play five more contests before their bye week. Below is each possible record the team can have going into the bye week and their percent chance at making the playoffs given each record:
- 6-3 record (74% chance at the postseason)
- 5-4 record (52% chance)
- 4-5 record (12% chance)
- 3-6 record (3% chance)
- 2-7 record (0% chance)
As you can see, the chart indicates that the odds can vary quite a bit between the Patriots’ possible records heading into their bye week.
The biggest difference is the percentage chance between finishing 5-4 through nine games or 4-5. Finishing 5-4 into the bye week would force the Patriots to go 4-1 over their next five contests. They play the Lions, Browns, Bears, Jets, and Colts. In all honesty, I think a 4-1 record is doable.
They have some sort of advantage against every team they play before their bye week. I do think the most likely scenario is a 3-2 record over the next five games, which would improve their standing to 4-5. However, their playoff chances would actually decrease, even with the improved record.