The Patriots will head into the final week of the season with a chance to win one of two first-round byes, and still are alive for the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Patriots survived an ugly performance in Jacksonville and beat the Jaguars, 23-16, to improve to 11-4 on the season. The Texans fell to 12-3 with a home loss to the surging 9-6 Vikings. The Broncos easily handled the Browns in Denver to match Houston at 12-3.
As a result, the Patriots can win the No. 1 seed next week with a win over the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium, a Denver loss at home to Kansas City and a Texans loss to the Colts in Indianapolis. That would give the Patriots, Broncos and Texans all records of 12-4 record, and the Patriots beat both teams in their head-to-head meetings.
The Patriots can still win a first-round bye if they beat Miami, and the Broncos or Texans lose, giving the Patriots the No. 2 seed. If the Patriots lose, they will not have a first-round bye and will be playing the weekend of Jan. 5-6. The Patriots would finish No. 3 if they beat Miami and Houston and Denver both win next week. The Patriots will also finish No. 3 if they lose and the Ravens lose in Cincinnati in Week 17. If the Ravens and Patriots finish tied at 11-5, the Ravens will be the No. 3 seed and the Patriots No. 4 based on Baltimore's 31-30 win on Sept. 23.
Cincinnati and Indianapolis both won on the road Sunday, clinching the final two playoff spots in the AFC. Both the Bengals and Colts will be wild cards as the Ravens clinched the AFC North with a win over the Giants in Baltimore. The Colts will enter the playoffs as the No. 5 seed while the Bengals will be the No. 6 seed based on common games.
Here are the AFC playoff seedings after Sunday's games:
1. Texans (12-3, AFC South champs, beat Broncos head-to-head)
2. Broncos (12-3, AFC West champs, lost to Texans head-to-head)
3. Patriots (11-4, AFC East champs)
4. Ravens (10-5, AFC North champs)
5. Colts (10-5, wild card No. 1)
6. Bengals (9-6, wild card No. 2)
Patriots safety Duron Harmon joined the show on Monday to discuss their win over Pittsburgh in the AFCCG. Harmon was asked about his tackle on Jesse James on the half yard line, and he revealed to the guys he wasn't thinking much about it, but that the defense has wanted the chance to make a goal line stand since they did it against Cincinnati earlier in the season.
Patriots running back Dion Lewis joined the show to discuss how it feels to be headed to the Super Bowl for the first time in his career, his recovery from a serious injury in 2015, and how LeGarrette Blount fired up the sidelines by carrying half the Steelers on his back.
Glenn Ordway and Fred Smerlas talk with Cornerback Malcolm Butler in the lockerroom after the Patriots handily beat the Pittsburgh to advance to Super Bowl 51.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the 'Dale and Holley Show' talk about Isaiah Thomas' flagrant foul against the Heat, and also discuss why it's time for the Celtics to address their biggest need.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of the "Dale and Holley Show" discuss the latest news on the injury that has kept Isaiah Thomas off the court and how valuable it is for Marcus Smart to stay in control.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Ben Kichen of 'The Dale and Holley Show' talk about last night's disappointing finish against the Rockets and they talk about their love for DeMarcus Cousins.
Mut, Rob, and John are talking about some of the Hall of Fame candidates who gained or lost support within the last year. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds both gained support, while Curt Schilling lost a chunk of votes he had gotten last year.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are in after it was announced that Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also talk about some notable candidates who weren't elected this year like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
Rob Bradford is joined by Jackie Bradley Jr. to discuss race in baseball and in Boston, along with the importance of Martin Luther King Day. The Red Sox outfielder also dives into how he never really felt comfortable in a major league clubhouse until last year, the approach he's taking heading into 2017, and why he's not playing in the World Baseball Classic.
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Ken, Rear and Ty talk all things Bruins as they come off a 4-0 shutout win in Florida and head to Carolina later today. Did that victory save Claude's job? The boys get into Don Sweeney's recent comments on Claude's job and what the future holds for the black and gold.
Hour 4. Kirk and Gerry discuss how players from bad teams can come to New England and win.
Hour 2. Albert challenges Kirk and Gerry. Headlines with Kirk covers the Women's March.
Tim Hasselbeck joins the show.
The guys open the show discussing the Patriots 36-17 win over Steelers in the AFCCG, and if that win helped answer some questions the critics had all year about the Patriots defense.
Last week, there was a lot of talk about Aaron Rodgers and his other-worldly performances down the stretch and into the playoffs. On Sunday, he was blown out by the Falcons, and sent home packing. The guys discuss the rise and fall of Aaron Rodgers' season, and also get into the Falcons offense, and how the Patriots defense might stack up.
Chris Hogan, Dion Lewis, Kyle Van Noy, and Trey Flowers are just a few of the reasons why Bill Belichick should be credited more as a great GM, in addition to his accolades as a great head coach.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick breaks down the win over the Steelers and looks ahead to the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl, who Bill admits is a team they are not yet very familiar with.
Dale, Holley and Keefe check in with Special Teams Captain Matthew Slater after the Patriots advance to Super Bowl 51.
Dale, Holley and Keefe check in with former Patriot Heath Evans, now with the NFL Network, for his complete analysis of the AFC Championship win.
Kirk Minihane brings Chad Finn back to the show to talk about the Charlotte Wilder story about the relationship between the Pats and Trump. Chad defends Charlotte for some of the story and her previous articles, Kirk still has problems with what he thinks is lazy reporting. Kirk and Chad also talk about whether a third sports station in Boston would be viable and if Curt Schilling will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Kirk Minihane has a loud and very confrontational argument with media personality John Ziegler about the guilt or innocence of Jerry Sandusky. Kirk believes him to be guilty, John believes beyond a shadow of a doubt that Sandusky is innocent. Yes, it may be an old case, but you all remember it and this episode may change your mind about some of the things you previously thought with regards to Penn State, Jerry Sandusky, and Joe Paterno.
Kirk Minihane wants to sit down with both sports editors at the major newspapers in Boston. Only Boston Herald sports editor Sean Leahy took Kirk up on the invitation to join the show. What you will hear is a great conversation between two people who are very interested in the newspaper business and how that business has changed over the years and what the future holds for newspapers. Kirk and Sean talk about the ongoing and longstanding rivalry between the Herald and Globe.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis recap a Patriots Monday after a Patriots AFC Title game win and a Tom Brady appearance with Kirk & Gerry.
Uncle Buck, George from S**t Pats Fans Say, and Jerry Thornton talk about the Patriots history in the AFC Championship game, the big wins, the bad losses, and what it will take for the Pats to win another AFC Championship game.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis wrap up the K&C week after a Friday show with Kirk, Mut and Ben Volin in studio.
Tom Brady joins the show the morning after winning the AFC championship for the seventh time. Brady talks about the upcoming Super Bowl and his call to President Donald Trump.More from this show
Hour 1. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl, which means Kirk and Gerry are going to Houston. Tom Brady joins the show.More from this show
Hour 2. Albert challenges Kirk and Gerry. Headlines with Kirk covers the Women's March.More from this show