BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are going to need all the help they can get to sneak into the playoffs. On Sunday, they got a little bit of that help.

New England remains a postseason longshot, though the team hasn’t been mathematically eliminated yet. At 6-7, the Patriots are in the No. 10 spot in a seven-team playoff picture, which isn’t an ideal spot heading into Week 15:

7. Miami Dolphins, 8-5
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8. Baltimore Ravens, 7-5
9. Las Vegas Raiders, 7-6
10. New England Patriots, 6-7

The Patriots sit behind the Miami Dolphins (currently the No. 7 seed), the Baltimore Ravens and the Las Vegas Raiders in the standings for that final playoff spot. They currently own a tie-breaker over all three of those opponents, but the Pats will need to win their final three games to remain in the postseason conversation.

At least on Sunday, two of those three teams ahead of New England lost, which gives the Patriots a little bit of help in their playoff push. The Dolphins fell to the Kansas City Chiefs and the Raiders lost to the Indianapolis Colts. The Ravens visit the 9-3 Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football.

The Patriots need those three teams to keep racking up losses if they want any shot at the playoffs. To sneak in, New England will have to win its final three games — @ Miami, vs. Buffalo, vs. New York Jets — and hope that Miami and Baltimore each lose at least two more games, while the the Raiders would need to drop at least one of their final three matchups.

For the Patriots, it all starts Sunday with a gigantic matchup with the Dolphins in Miami.

After hosting the Patriots on Sunday, the Dolphins will then close their season with road games against Vegas and Buffalo. The Raiders host the Chargers and Dolphins before closing the season with a road game against the Broncos. After Monday night’s tilt with the Browns, the Ravens host the Jaguars and the Giants, then close their season on the road against the Bengals.

The Patriots don’t control their own postseason future, but they’re not completely out of it just yet. They just need to keep winning, and get a lot of help along the way.

Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins clash on WBZ-TV — the television home of the New England Patriots. Coverage begins Friday night with Patriots All Access at 7 p.m., and pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday with Patriots GameDay. The Patriots and the Dolphins kick off at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, and after the game tune in to Patriots 5th Quarter on TV38 for complete postgame reaction and analysis!

 

CBSBoston.com Staff