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Patriots are now the #1 seed in the AFC and control homefield advantage

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What a dramatic turn of events.

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The New England Patriots mounted an impressive comeback to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 and I, for one, never doubted Tom Brady and the offense. Not for a second.

But let’s say hypothetically that I already wrote a game recap declaring the Steelers victors over the Patriots, and that New England fell to 10-4 and the third seed behind the 10-4 Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold the conference record tiebreaker. And imagine if I wrote that the Patriots were in serious jeopardy of missing out on a first round bye because the Jaguars have a far easier schedule over the final two weeks of the season.

That would’ve been a real goof on my part.

In the real world, the Patriots held on to beat the Steelers as both teams moved to 11-3, with New England holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. Pittsburgh now has losses to both the Patriots and the Jaguars, while the Jaguars would hold the conference record tiebreaker against the Patriots in any scenario where they have identical records.

New England is the #1 seed and sit in the driver’s seat for homefield advantage in the AFC. They still have to win out, but they’ve clinched the AFC East and a top three seed. And if the Patriots lock in the top spot in the AFC, then they won’t have to go on the road until the Super Bowl.

The Patriots host the Bills and Jets in the final two weeks, while the Steelers go on the road against the Texans and host the Browns, and the Jaguars go on the road against the 49ers and the Titans.

Here are the different ways that the Patriots, Steelers, and Jaguars could finish in the AFC over the final two weeks.

Scenario A: 1. Patriots; 2. Steelers; 3. Jaguars

  1. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 2-0
  2. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 1-1
  3. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 0-2
  4. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 1-1
  5. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 0-2
  6. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 0-2
  7. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 1-1
  8. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 0-2
  9. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 0-2
  10. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 0-2

Scenario B: 1. Patriots; 2. Jaguars; 3. Steelers

  1. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 2-0
  2. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 2-0
  3. Patriots 2-0; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 1-1
  4. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 1-1

Scenario C: 1. Steelers; 2. Patriots; 3. Jaguars

  1. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 1-1
  2. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 0-2
  3. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 0-2
  4. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 0-2

Scenario D: 1. Steelers; 2. Jaguars; 3. Patriots

  1. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 2-0
  2. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 2-0
  3. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 2-0; Jaguars 1-1
  4. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 1-1

Scenario E: 1. Jaguars; 2. Patriots; 3. Steelers

  1. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 2-0
  2. Patriots 1-1; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 2-0
  3. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 2-0
  4. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 0-2; Jaguars 1-1

Scenario F: 1. Jaguars; 2. Steelers; 3. Patriots

  1. Patriots 0-2; Steelers 1-1; Jaguars 2-0