Earlier today, the New England Patriots did their jobs to secure homefield advantage throughout the AFC portion of the NFL playoffs. This, in turn, left only one question to be answered by the afternoon games: Who gets the number two seed (and wins the AFC West), the Oakland Raiders or the Kansas City Chiefs?
After both teams’ games have now ended we know the answer. The Chiefs, who beat the San Diego Chargers 37-27, get the number two seed and have earned themselves a bye next week. The Raiders, on the other hand, lost 24-6 at the Denver Broncos and thus slide to seed number five.
All in all, the final AFC playoff picture looks as follows:
1. New England Patriots (14-2)
2. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)
4. Houston Texans (9-7)
5. Oakland Raiders (12-4)
6. Miami Dolphins (10-6)
Consequently, the wild card weekend will see the following two AFC games (the dates and times have yet to be announced by the NFL [UPDATE: They have been announced]):
Miami Dolphins (6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3)
Oakland Raiders (5) at Houston Texans (4)
When the Patriots enter the playoff race in two weeks, they will face the lowest seeded of the two remaining teams. This means that New England will either host the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders or Houston Texans on divisional weekend. While neither game will be a cakewalk, all three of the Patriots’ potential opponents are currently dealing with issues at the most pivotal position: quarterback.
The Dolphins might have to start backup Matt Moore in case currently rehabbing Ryan Tannehill cannot get up to playing speed in the next few weeks. In the meantime, it remains to be seen who the Raiders and Texans will ultimately start as both were forced to play two quarterbacks today. Oakland saw Matt McGloin and Connor Cook take snaps under center, while Houston had Tom Savage and Brock Osweiler pass the football.
All in all, considering the final seeding, today’s slate of games played out pretty well for New England.