Any football fan knows what "in the hunt" means. It means a team that is in the mix for a postseason spot at this time on the calendar, but one that's on the outside looking in.

That's where the New England Patriots find themselves through nearly 13 full weeks of NFL football in 2022. In the hunt.

The Pats entered the weekend with a 23% chance to make the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. That went up slightly to 25%, thanks to the Jets falling at Minnesota and the Chargers dropping their game vs. Las Vegas.

The Jets hold the AFC's final Wild Card spot at the moment, but the position is anything but locked up. New York is one game in front of the Patriots, but should New England finish with the same record as the Jets, that spot would belong to the Pats by virtue of New England's head-to-head 2-game sweep of the Jets.

The Chargers are on level footing with the Pats at the moment, though could pose a bigger threat down the stretch. After hosting Miami and Tennessee the next two weeks, L.A. wraps up the year with games against the Colts, the Rams, and the Broncos, which should provide them with a yellow brick road to nine wins.

And hey, after 3-straight wins the Raiders are attempting to claw their way back into this thing. Think about this for a second, if the Pats stumble one week from tonight at Arizona, and the Raiders bag a 4th-straight win vs. the JV Rams on Sunday, Belichick and McDaniels could enter that Week 15 contest with identical records, despite Vegas beginning the season 2-7.

As the weeks go by, it appears it may take fewer and fewer victories to claim the 7th seed in the AFC. Nine wins now appears like the number that will get you there, with 10 making it all but a certainty.

Which team battling it out for the final playoff spot is most worthy?

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