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Patriots clinch first-round playoff bye thanks to Jaguars' loss against 49ers

New England will not play on wild card weekend.

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Earlier today, the New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills to improve their record to 12-3. The victory not only secured the Patriots' their eighth straight 12+ win season, it also helped the team stay on course to potentially earn the number one seed in the AFC's playoff race. But no matter what happens tomorrow or next week, one thing is sure: New England will not play on wildcard weekend.

The reason for that is that the Jacksonville Jaguars were defeated by the San Francisco 49ers and former Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in one of Sunday's afternoon games. With the Jaguars falling to 10-5, the team will no longer be able to overtake New England in the standings - and in turn the defending world champions will have a first round bye for the eighth year in a row.

Getting a bye week is big for a Patriots team that has struggled with injuries this season. Consequently, players like running back Rex Burkhead or defensive tackle Alan Branch will get another week to rehab before New England enters the playoff race on the second weekend of January, while the rest of the team and coaching staff will get a weekend off.