Every playoff team in the AFC is already decided, but each team's seed could change depending on the outcome of Week 17's games.
For the New England Patriots, they currently sit with the No. 3 seed in the AFC and will have to play Wild Card weekend, if the playoffs were to start now. However, the Patriots could possibly clinch a playoff bye if the No. 1 seed Houston Texans lose against the Indianapolis Colts or the No. 2 seed Denver Broncos are knocked off by the Kansas City Chiefs and the Patriots win. The Patriots could also clinch the top seed if both the Texans and Broncos lose and the Patriots win.
The only way that the Patriots can clinch a bye is if they take care of business at home against the 7-8 Miami Dolphins.
With that being said, let's take a look at my bold predictions for New England's final regular season game of 2012.
1. Rob Gronkowski will play and will score a touchdown
According to Tom E. Curran of Comcast Sportsnet, Rob Gronkowski is expected to play Sunday afternoon and should have at least a limited role in the game.
If you ask me, I have a feeling that Gronk will have a major role in Sunday's game.
The Patriots still have something to play for and it'd be a good idea to shake off the rust to help ease Gronk's transition into the playoffs.
2. Tom Brady is going to be near-perfect
Over the last two weeks, Tom Brady has been far from perfect—in fact, he hasn't been very "Brady-like."
Brady has been intercepted two times in each of his last two games and never really got anything going last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Brady completed just 24 of his 41 passes for 267 yards while tossing two touchdowns and being picked off twice.
It's time for Brady to get back on-track heading into the playoffs.
3. Reggie Bush won't surpass the 1,000-yard mark
Much like a year ago in the season finale, Reggie Bush was playing against the New England Patriots and had a shot at reaching the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the season. Bush did surpass that number a year ago, but I don't see him surpassing this time.
Bush comes in with 960 rushing yards on the season but will face a New England defense that held him to 64 yards back in Week 13 and is averaging a total of 105.5 rushing yards per-game.
I just don't see Bush having a successful day rushing against the Pats.
4. Wes Welker will record at least 10 receptions for at least 100-plus receiving yards
What else is new?
Wes Welker also dominates his former team, the Miami Dolphins.
Welker recorded 10 passes alone in the first half back in Week 13 and finished the day with 12 receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown.
Will anyone really be that surprised if Welker puts up huge numbers against the Dolphins? I think not.
Final prediction: New England: 31 Miami: 17
I see this being a long day for the Dolphins, as current weather reports are indicating that it will be 25 degrees for kickoff with a wind of 23 MPH. Is that football weather for Miami? No way.
It seems like that Dolphins never play well in New England, especially when it's later in the season.
With that being said, I do see the Patriots rolling right over the Dolphins, as they could possibly clinch a playoff bye and more importantly they need to get back on track heading into the postseason.
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