In losing to the Dolphins on Sunday, the Patriots not only blew a chance for the No. 1 seed in the AFC but also in putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the AFC East. Now, with two games left against the Ravens and Bills, New England's place in the postseason bracket remains up in the air.
They could win out and remain the No. 2 seed, or lose out and see the Dolphins win the division.
For now, all quarterback Tom Brady is concerned with are those things he can control. And with a team decimated by injuries, he knows he -- and his teammates -- have to avoid mistakes from here on out.
"Our margin of error is very slim," Brady said on Monday morning during his weekly appearance on WEEI. "We can't make any mistakes or give them any opportunities. If we have plays that are there to be made, then I've got to throw it and hit it. We've got to come up with them.
"We're not winning by 30 points. Every game comes down to the end. We've just got to do a better job when we have opportunities as a team in all three phases to make plays to help us secure wins."
As for the playoffs and where the Patriots fit in, Brady isn't concerned.
"It doesn't matter at all," he said." We haven't even qualified for anything. We've got 10 wins, and 10 wins is fine, it's OK. But it hasn't gotten us anything. What we need to do is start playing better football. I think that's the only thing I really care about, is us playing better football and seeing if we can do better on a more consistent basis.
"Everyone up and down the roster has to do a better job, because, like I said, by no means are we running away from any team that we're playing; we haven't done it all year. We just haven't played well enough consistently to do that. If you're going to get in these games every week, then when we have opportunities to do it, we've got to take advantage.
"Yesterday we had opportunities to do better, and we didn't take advantage. That's why we sit here, pissed off about losses. It makes for a long week when you give a game away that you really have a great opportunity to win."