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)
Chris Price and Mike Petraglia discuss the top priorities for the Patriots as the off-season begins. Who do they need to pursue in free agency, who do they need to keep, and what areas of the roster do they need to address?
Picard and Price give their predictions for SB50 later today.
Danny and Price react to the HOF class that was announced last night. They get into the names and legacies, especially a questionable one in Tony Dungy.
Boston Celtics stud Evan Turner joins the WEEI Celtics Podcast to reflect on the Celtics hot streak going into the All-Star break. Turner discussed how much he values being in a great situation in Boston and tries to get inside the life of Brad Stevens. First, Sam Packard and Jared Weiss chopped it up with Kyle Draper, covering the Celtics thrilling classic against Paul Pierce and the Los Angeles Clippers and broke down potential trade scenarios ahead of the deadline.
Trailing a big win by the Celtics over the Clippers, Paul Flannery of SB Nation calls in to talk everything Celtics.
Danny had just hit the air as it looked like the Celtics would drop a close game to the Cleveland Cavaliers, ride along as Danny goes on the emotional roller coaster of the final 7.5 seconds of the game
Jared Carrabis joins Mut Mutnansky to discuss concerns surrounding the Red Sox heading into Spring Training.
Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes joins Rob Bradford to discuss why he's now a relief pitcher, how important it is that he throws harder than most, lessons he learned from last season, and why his love for two very different restaurants in Cracker Barrel and Twin Peaks
This week the guys are joined by Ian Browne of MLB.com, they talk about Clay Buchholz and the impending opening of spring training
Ken Laird and DJ Bean discuss Boston's 6-2 in Winnipeg on Thursday night, an answer night after losing 9-2 at home to LA on Tuesday
Ken Laird & DJ Bean discuss the LA Kings 9-2 win at TD Garden on Tuesday as former Bruin Milan Lucic was one of 9 different players to score during a 57-shot night for the Kings
DJ, Pete and Ken continue their discussion about the direction of the Bruins and how some of their moves are ambiguous and tough to figure out their thinking. Are they going for it all or rebuilding. Again, DJ appropriately calls it a "soft rebuild." They talk about acquiring Beleskey as well as Brett Connolly's recent play. Also, the boys talked with Arpon Basu about the spiraling Montreal Canadiens.
Robert Kraft on WCVB.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Minihane.
A caller to Mike Francesca duped The Pope into thinking that Oscar Robinson was #29 on the list (he was actually #11) which prompted Mike to go insane.
Patriot fans, as expected, begin to connect the dots in hopes of bringing the talented RB to Foxboro.
Lou did the crossover at 9:55 on Friday, which led to a fiery exchange between himself and Kirk Minihane. Lou tells the story and opines on the situation.
Dale, Michael and Jerry check in with our good friend John Buccigross and talk some NHL hockey.
Dale, Michael and Jerry open up the floodgates on a freestyle friday and talk about whatever you want.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss how good a fit former Bear Matt Forte would be in this Patriots offense.
Mikey, Mut, Lenny, and Lucy are talking Patriots, Red Sox, Presidents and a whole lot more.
Mikey and Mut are talking about free agent running back Matt Forte, and whether he would be a good fit for the Patriots.
Jared Carrabis joins Mut Mutnansky to discuss concerns surrounding the Red Sox heading into Spring Training
Kate Scott, of KNBR in San Francisco, joins Lucy to discuss women in sports radio, the Super Bowl, and how great it is to talk about sports for a living.