New England Patriots keep playoff hopes alive with week 17 win

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 14: Kyle Dugger #23 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 14: Kyle Dugger #23 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots clawed their way to a week 17 victory against the Miami Dolphins and are keeping their playoff hopes alive for 2022.   The Patriots just won’t go away, will they?  In a must-win game in week 17, the team was able to pull through.

Sure, they ended up facing Teddy Bridgewater and Miami’s third string quarterback, Skylar Thompson, but a win is a win.  The defense was largely able to keep the major playmakers for the Dolphins in check, and they were also able to pick off each quarterback once.

Kyle Dugger’s pick six was a thing of beauty, and Jon Jones added an interception himself.  Yet again, the offense didn’t really do anything special, but they were clearly good enough on Sunday.

Mac Jones passed for 203 yards and two touchdowns and seems to be comfortable in the offense, even while still enduring pathetic play-calling from Matt Patricia.

Tyquan Thornton led the way with 60 receiving yards, and Rhamondre Stevenson led the way with 42 yards on the ground.  It was a relief to get out of this game with a win, and now the team’s destiny is still in their hands, but it can get a bit easier.

Put simply, if the Patriots can win next week against the Buffalo Bills, they’ll get in.  Also, if the New York Jets fall to the Seattle Seahawks, they are eliminated, as are the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders if they lose their respective week 17 games.

New England is currently in the seventh and final playoff seed, owning the tiebreaker over the Dolphins after this win.  There would be a scenario where the team could still lose in week 18 and make the playoffs, but the main focus should be to close the season out at 9-8, which would guarantee a spot in the big dance.

Also, since the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday, the Chiefs now go to 13-3 and are currently in the one seed.  The Buffalo Bills do indeed have the tiebreaker over the Chiefs, and their next matchup is against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals also have a tiebreaker against the Chiefs, so because of what happened in week 17, it does not appear like the Bills would be poised to rest any starters since they cannot clinch the number one seed in the playoffs.

In fact, the Bengals, Bills, and Chiefs all still have a path to clinch the top seed, so New England may have to endure a Bills team playing for a massive bonus in week 18.