By virtue of the Steelers' 23-20 last-second win in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon, the Patriots find themselves tied with the Ravens and Broncos for the No. 2 seed in the AFC, a spot that would earn them a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the second round of the AFC playoffs.
Technically, the Patriots have the advantage in a three-way tie right now and are the No. 2 seed according to NFL.com  since the Patriots are 8-1 in the AFC while Baltimore is 8-2 and the Broncos are 6-2.
Houston is the No. 1 seed in the AFC with an 11-1 record, having beaten Tennessee on Sunday. The Patriots play the Texans next Monday night at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots lost to the Ravens and beat the Broncos. The Ravens have a huge game with the Broncos in Baltimore on Dec. 16 that could determine who winds up with the No. 2 seed.
The Patriots won their fourth straight AFC East title with a 23-16 road win on Sunday over the Dolphins and improved to 9-3. The Ravens fell to 9-3, and the Broncos won their seventh straight to improve to 9-3, holding off Tampa Bay in Denver. If the Broncos win that game on Dec. 16 and the three teams finished tied, then conference record will be key. If the Ravens and Patriots win out, and Houston finishes as the No. 1 seed, the Ravens will take the No. 2 seed as a result of their wins over the Patriots and Broncos.
There also is a fierce race for the two wild cards, as the Colts stand at No. 5 in the conference with an 8-4 record. The Steelers are 7-5, tied with the Bengals. But the Steelers hold the No. 6 spot by virtue of their win Oct. 21 in Cincinnati.
Here is the seeding after Sunday's action: 1. Houston, 2. New England, 3. Baltimore, 4. Denver, 5. Indianapolis, 6. Pittsburgh, 7. Cincinnati. The top six teams make the AFC playoffs.
For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots .