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2013 NFL Playoff Picture: Patriots in Drivers Seat for a Bye

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Nine weeks into the NFL season, the New England Patriots remain in the drivers seat for a potential bye.

Jim Rogash

Nine weeks into the NFL season, the New England Patriots remain in the drivers seat for a potential bye:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0)
2. New England Patriots (7-2)
3. Indianapolis Colts (6-2)
4. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3)
5. Denver Broncos (7-1)
6. New York Jets (5-4)

Outside looking in: Tennessee Titans (4-4), Miami Dolphins (4-4), San Diego Chargers (4-4), Cleveland Browns (4-5)

For now, the Patriots hold on to the number two seed in the AFC with the bye. As things stand, that would set them up with a potential home game against Denver or Cincinnati in the divisional round. However, the Chiefs at 9-0 do face the tougher portion of their schedule in the second half, and it’s not inconceivable to think that the Patriots could overtake them. It’s also very possible that the Broncos overtake the Chiefs, which makes the Patriots week twelve match-up against Denver all the more important.

In terms of tie-breakers, the Bengals own the head to head with the Patriots, which means the Patriots will need to finish at least a full game ahead of them to seed higher. The Patriots are also a half-game ahead of the Colts for the second seed. Both own identical 4-2 conference records, so that tiebreaker could potentially come down to games against common opponents since the two don’t face off this regular season.