The New England Patriots entered the meat of their schedule Thanksgiving night in Minnesota. The Pats began Turkey Day in 3rd in the AFC East and 6th in the conference's playoff standings. But after suffering a 33-26 loss to the 9-2 Vikings, New England tumbled to the basement of the AFC and into the "in the hunt" graphic.

The road certainly doesn't get any easier from here...another Thursday night matchup, this time vs. the Bills, is followed by a 2-week trip to Arizona and Las Vegas before closing out the season at home against Cincinnati and Miami and a Week 18 trip to Buffalo. currently gives the Patriots a 36% chance of making the playoffs. With a win on Thursday night, that number jumps to a 55% chance. With a loss, it plummets to a 23% chance.

In a way, the Patriots control their own playoff destiny with the teams remaining on their schedule (five of the seven games are against teams in the playoffs if the season ended today). But to make it there, the Pats will likely need at least four wins from their finals six contests.

Is that asking too much from this Patriots team?

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