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Week 16 Playoff Clinching Scenarios: Patriots Clinch First Round Bye, Can Earn Homefield Advantage

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The New England Patriots did what they had to do in order to move towards a bye week, and the Steelers gave an assist with a monster comeback in Pittsburgh. The Patriots now have a two-game lead against both the Broncos and the Bengals with just two games left.

Only three teams are vying for a bye week or homefield advantage: the Patriots, Bengals, and Broncos. The next loss by the Bengals or the Broncos will eliminate them from the running for the top seed, while the next win by the Patriots will clinch the #1 seed for New England.

How to clinch Homefield Advantage in week 16

a) The Patriots defeat the Jets

A Patriots victory against the Jets makes their worst possible record 13-3 and, for the Bye Week Clinching reason, New England would hold the tiebreakers against the Bengals, regardless of how either team finishes the season. The Broncos are a 4-loss team, so they would be unable to match the Patriots record.

If the Broncos lose to the Bengals, they could be in jeopardy of losing their division. The Chiefs finish the season at home can defeat the Browns in week 16 and the Raiders in week 17. If the Broncos lose to the Bengals, and then fall to the Chargers in week 17, then Kansas City will win the AFC West as the conference's #3 seed.