With two weeks left to play in the NFL season, only five of the league's 12 playoff berths have officially been clinched, which means we're going to see plenty of drama between now and the end of the year. 

A lot of that drama is probably going to involve the Patriots and that's because they're on track to play in the opening round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Patriots are currently sitting at the No. 3 spot in the AFC and if that doesn't change, they'll be playing in the wild-card round.

The wild-card round is basically every New England fan's worst nightmare, and that's because, under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have never made it to the Super Bowl when forced to play in the opening round. The Patriots have played in the wild-card round a total of three times under Belichick (2005, 2006, 2009) and they lost before the Super Bowl in each of those seasons. 

To find out exactly what the Patriots might end up, let's get to this week's projection. As always, we'll be projecting the 12 teams that we expect to make the playoffs. To figure out who those 12 teams are, we had SportsLine.com's Stephen Oh crunch some numbers and give us some projections. Basically, Oh plugged some numbers into his SportsLine computer this week and simulated the rest of the NFL season, and using those numbers, we'll be projecting the 12-team playoff field. 

Without further adieu, let's get to this week's projections. 

Note: Remember, this is a projection based on how we think the rest of the regular season will play out. If you want to see the current playoff standings, click here to see Will Brinson's thorough breakdown of what the playoff race looks like as we head into Week 16.

(Stream Saturday's and all of Sunday's games on fuboTV, try it for free, and stream the CBS games on CBS All Access.)

AFC Playoff Projection

Projected wins in parentheses

1. Kansas City Chiefs (12.5 wins): AFC West Champs

Although the Chiefs loss to the Chargers has added some serious drama to the AFC playoff race, the computer thinks that Kansas City is still a safe bet to win the AFC West and take the top seed. According to SportLine, the Chiefs have a 72.1 percent chance of winning the division while the Chargers chances are sitting at just 27.9 percent. Of course, don't be surprised if things get crazy in Week 16 and that's because both teams are facing a team that's currently projected to be in the 2018 playoffs. The Chiefs will be traveling to Seattle while the Chargers will be hosting the RavensChiefs remaining schedule: At Seattle, Oakland.

2. Houston Texans (11.2): AFC South Champs

The biggest winner during the Patriots two-game losing streak has been the Texans, and that's because Houston is now in line to get a first-round bye. The computer is currently projecting that the Texans will end the season as the second seed in the AFC, which would be big news in Houston, and that's because the Texans have never earned a first-round bye in franchise history. The Texans have been to the playoffs four times and they've played in the wild-card round each time.  Texans remaining schedule: At Philadelphia, Jacksonville.

3. New England Patriots (10.7): AFC East Champs

Yes, the Patriots have dropped to the third seed in the AFC, but the good news for them is that the computer still likes their chances of winning the Super Bowl. According to SportsLine, the Patriots have the second best chance of any AFC team to win the Super Bowl, despite the fact that they're being projected to finish with the fourth-best record in the conference. Obviously, the computer isn't taking into account the Patriots ugly postseason history that we mentioned at the top of the page. Patriots remaining schedule: Buffalo, NY Jets

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (9.1): AFC North Champs

The Steelers upset win over the Patriots on Sunday has them back in the driver's seat for the AFC North title. The Steelers chances of winning the division jumped from 51.1 percent last week to 66.7 percent this week after their win over New England. As for the Ravens, the computer is giving them just a 33.7 percent chance of clinching the division. The Steelers could win the AFC North as soon as this Sunday if the Ravens lose to the Chargers and Pittsburgh beats the Saints.  Steelers remaining schedule: At New Orleans, Cincinnati.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (12.1): Wild Card

The Chargers have already clinched at least a wild-card and since they'll likely finish with a record of 12-4 or 13-3, you might be wondering when the last time was that a team with that many wins got stuck playing in the wild-card round. The last time a 12-4 team played in the opening round came in 2016 when the Raiders finished second in the AFC West with a 12-4 record. The last time a 13-3 team had to play in the wild-card round came all the way back in 1999 when the Tennessee Titans finished second in the old AFC Central behind the 14-2 Jaguars. The Titans went on to have one of the most dramatic playoff runs in NFL history with a wild card win thanks to the Music City Miracle, a three-point win over Peyton Manning in the divisional round and a third win over the Jags in the AFC title game. As a matter of fact, the Jags only lost three games all season and they were all to Tennessee. The Titans ended up losing the Super Bowl to the Rams when they fell one-yard short of the end zone on the final play of the game. Chargers remaining schedule: Baltimore, at Denver. 

6. Baltimore Ravens: (9.2) Wild Card

The reason the Ravens are here is because the computer actually likes their chances to beat the Chargers. However, Baltimore's playoff chances will take a huge drop on Saturday if they lose in L.A. As things currently stand, the Ravens have a 50.4 percent chance of getting into the postseason, but those chances will drop to 15 percent with a loss and could drop to zero percent if the Colts, Titans and Steelers all win on Sunday. If the Ravens falter in L.A., that opens the door for both the Colts and Titans. According to the computer, the Titans have a slightly better chance than the Colts of getting the wild-card spot (38.9 percent to 27.4 percent), but that's mostly because the Week 17 finale between these two teams is being played in Tennessee. The computer loves home teams. Ravens remaining schedule: At Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland.

Just missed: Titans, Colts 

Here's a list of all the other AFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Dolphins (0.7 percent percent), Browns (0.1 percent), Broncos (0.0 percent -- eliminated), Bengals (0.0 percent) -- Eliminated, Jaguars (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Jets (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Bills (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Raiders (0.0 percent -- Eliminated). 

NFC Playoff Projection

1. New Orleans Saints (13.5 wins): NFC South Champs

The Saints only need to win one of their final two games to clinch home-field advantage in the NFC and the computer fully expects that to happen. As a matter of fact, the computer views the Saints as the best team in the NFL and it's not even close. According to SportsLine, the Saints have a 27.5 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl, which is more than 10 percentage points higher than the next closest team (The Chiefs have a 17.24 percent chance of winning it all, followed by the Rams with a 14.4 percent chance, and the Patriots, who have a 12.69 percent chance).  Saints remaining schedule: Pittsburgh, Carolina.

2. Los Angeles Rams (12.6): NFC West Champs

The Rams might be in the middle of a late-season meltdown, but the computer doesn't think that will cost them a first-round bye. The Rams can lock up a bye by winning their final two games and the computer fully expects that to happen, which means the Rams will likely get an extra week to fix whatever's wrong with their offense.  Rams remaining schedule: At Arizona, San Francisco.

3. Chicago Bears: (10.9) NFC North Champs

If there's one team that's not getting any respect from the computer, it's the Chicago Bears. Despite the fact that Chicago is tied for the fifth-best record in the NFL, the computer views the Bears as just the eighth-best team in the league. According to SportsLine, the Bears have just a 9.37 percent chance of winning the NFC title game, which is way behind the Saints (47.48 percent) and Rams (28.39 percent). The Bears can clinch at least a third seed with a win over the 49ers on Sunday. Bears remaining schedule: At San Francisco, at Minnesota.

4. Dallas Cowboys (9.2): NFC East Champs

The Cowboys' blowout loss to the Colts might have been ugly, but it didn't really hurt their chances of winning the NFC East. All the Cowboys have to do to clinch the division is win one of the their final two games and the computer basically views that as a lock. According to SportsLine, the Cowboys have a 92.4 percent chance of winning the NFC East. The Eagles (5.8 percent) and Redskins (1.8 percent) are also still technically in the hunt, but they're definitely going to need a miracle to unseat the Cowboys.  Cowboys remaining schedule: Tampa Bay, at NY Giants.

5. Seattle Seahawks (9.3): Wild Card

The Seahawks choke job in San Francisco might have been ugly, but the computer doesn't think it's going to cost them a playoff spot. The Seahawks biggest advantage is that if they win their season finale in Arizona, they'll practically be a lock to get in. That win would give them an 8-4 record in the NFC, which would likely be the tiebreaker used if they end up tied with Washington (Best possible record against NFC teams: 7-5) or Philadelphia (6-6). The computer likes the Seahawks so much that Seattle is being given a 94.1 percent chance of getting into the postseason. Seahawks remaining schedule: Kansas City, Arizona.

6. Minnesota Vikings (8.2): Wild Card

All the Vikings have to do to clinch a playoff spot is win each of their final two games, which might be easier said than done, and that's because winning out would involve beating the Bears. As things currently stand, the computer is giving the Vikings a 69.4 percent chance of getting the final wild-card spot in the NFC. The biggest threat to a Vikings postseason berth is the Eagles, who have a 27.2 percent chance of getting in the playoffs. Of course, that probably won't bother the Eagles, because if we learned one thing about Philly last season, it's that they seem to thrive when the odds are stacked against them. The Redskins also have an outside shot of getting in the playoffs with a 12.2 percent chance.  Vikings remaining schedule: At Detroit, Chicago.

Just missed: Eagles, Redskins

Here's a list of all the other NFC teams (their percentage chances of getting into the playoffs is listed next to them in parentheses): Panthers, (0.4 percent), Packers (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Lions (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Buccaneers (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Giants (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Falcons (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), Cardinals (0.0 percent -- Eliminated), 49ers (0.0 percent -- Eliminated). 

Wild-Card Round Projection


(6) Ravens at (3) Patriots

(5) Chargers at (4) Steelers

Byes: Chiefs, Texans


(6) Vikings at (3) Bears

(5) Seahawks at (4) Cowboys

Byes: Rams, Saints