All the New England Patriots needed to do in order to secure a bye next week was beat the visiting New York Jets today. This is exactly what happened: the Patriots defeated their opponent with a final score of 38-3 to finish the regular season with an 11-5 record and a top-two seed in the AFC. All in all, the conference’s playoff picture looks like this:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
2. New England Patriots (11-5)
3. Houston Texans (11-5)
4. Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
5. Los Angeles Chargers (12-4)
6. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
Even with six of the AFC’s top eight teams having not yet finished their games we already knew that the second seed in the conference belonged to the Patriots. Despite the Texans also winning their week 17 game — the team defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-3 — New England stayed on top due to the head-to-head tiebreaker: the Patriots beat Houston 27-20 all the way back on opening day.
With its win today and a first-round bye locked up, New England was still in contention for the number one seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. However, it needed both the Chiefs playing at home against the Oakland Raiders and the Chargers playing on the road against the Denver Broncos to lose — and neither of the two did happen.
Meanwhile, the Ravens captured the AFC North thanks to a dramatic 26-24 win over the Cleveland Browns while the Colts won in Tennessee to secure the AFC South. As a result, the Steelers and Titans have both been eliminated from postseason contention.
The NFC’s final playoff picture looks as follows:
1. New Orleans Saints (13-3)
2. Los Angeles Rams (13-3)
3. Chicago Bears (12-4)
4. Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
5. Seattle Seahawks (10-6)
6. Philadelphia Eagles (8-8)
On the outside looking in: Minnesota Vikings (8-7-1)
There was still a lot on the line in the NFC with the Vikings and the Eagles fighting for the sixth seed in the conference. While Minnesota was hosting the third-seeded Bears, who were still in play for the number two seed, Philadelphia was playing in Washington — and was able to sneak into the postseason thanks to a 24-0 win and a Minnesota loss.
Welcome to the Pats Pulpit Live Postgame show! The Patriots finished the regular season strong and cruised to a win over the Jets today, clinching a first round playoff bye in the process. Send us your questions and comments!Posted by Pats Pulpit: For New England Patriots News on Sunday, December 30, 2018