The Patriots have won the 2004 AFC East title and secured a first-round bye. New England will host the highest-seeded winner from the wild card round at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16. The Patriots will host one of the following teams: Indianapolis (12-4), San Diego (12-4) or the New York Jets (10-6).
BY THE BYE
Including this season, the Patriots have earned a first-round playoff bye in three of the last four years, tying them with the NFC's Philadelphia Eagles for the most byes in the NFL over that span. Since the first-round bye was instituted in its current format in 1990, the Patriots have earned a bye four times (1996, 2001, 2003 and 2004), and have advanced to play in the Super Bowl each of the previous three times they have earned playoff byes. The Patriots' four byes rank second in AFC history, trailing only the Pittsburgh Steelers' record of six byes since the current format was adopted 15 seasons ago.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Patriots have recorded a 23-3 (.885) all-time record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games. New England has won 19 consecutive regular-season and postseason contests at home, compiling the longest current home winning streak in the NFL. New England has not lost at home since a 30-17 defeat to the New York Jets on Dec. 22, 2002. The Patriots' .885 winning percentage at Gillette Stadium is the highest of any NFL team at its current home.
The Patriots finished the 2004 regular season with a 14-2 record, equaling the best regular-season record in NFL history by a defending Super Bowl champion. New England finished at 14-2 for the second consecutive season and tied five other teams for the most victories by a defending champion in the Super Bowl Era (since 1966). The 1998 Denver Broncos were the last defending champs to finish with a 14-win campaign, joining San Francisco (1989 and 1990), Chicago (1986) and Washington (1983) as the only teams to defend their titles with 14 wins in the regular season. Out of the five teams that have previously accomplished the feat, two have repeated as champions - the 1998 Broncos and the 1989 49ers.
The Patriots have compiled consecutive 14-win seasons, becoming the third team to win at least 14 games in back-to-back seasons since the NFL adopted the 16-game schedule in 1978. The last team to pull the feat was the San Francisco 49ers, who posted identical 14-2 marks in 1989 and 1990. In an interesting contrast, the Patriots were a combined 6-26 over those same two seasons. The other team to accomplish back-to-back seasons of at least 14 wins was the Chicago Bears, who went 15-1 in 1985 and followed that up with a 14-2 performance in 1986.
HOME SWEET HOME
New England will host a divisional playoff game at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 16. The Patriots are 6-1 at home in the playoffs in their history and own a 6-game home winning streak in postseason play. New England has not lost at home in the playoffs in more than 25 years, dating back to Dec. 31, 1978. Six of the franchise's seven home playoff games have taken place since Robert Kraft purchased the team 11 years ago.
PATRIOTS IN THE PLAYOFFS
New England has qualified for the playoffs 13 times in its 45-year history. The Patriots have earned seven playoff berths in the 11 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. New England has won eight division crowns and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players' strike.
WRAPPING IT UP
The Patriots clinched their eighth division title with their 35-28 win over the Bengals on Dec. 12, coupled with the New York Jets' loss to Pittsburgh on the same day. It is New England's fifth division title in the 11 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. The Patriots clinched the division title with games remaining on the schedule for the third time in team history and for the second consecutive season. New England wrapped up the AFC East on Dec. 10, 1978, with one game left in the season and clinched last year's crown on Dec. 7 against Miami with three games left on the slate. Four of the Patriots' division titles were clinched on the final day of the season, with a fifth being clinched in a tie-breaking playoff game in 1963.
ALL-TIME PLAYOFF RESULTS
The Patriots have compiled a 13-10 record in their 23 playoff games. New England has qualified for four Super Bowls (XX, XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVIII) and also played in the 1963 AFL Championship Game. THE KRAFT ERA
The Patriots record at home since 1994, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
The Patriots' record at Gillette Stadium, including regular-season and postseason games (.885 win pct).
The Patriots' record in preseason, regular-season and postseason games since 1996 (.646 win pct).
The Patriots' regular-season record since 1996 (.632 win pct).
The Patriots' postseason record since 1996 (.750 win pct).
WHAT A RUSH
The number of yards per rush the Patriots averaged in 2004.
The last season in which the Patriots averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry as a team, dating back 19 years to the 1985 team's average of 4.13 yards per carry.
The number of points the Patriots scored this season, a total that ranks second in franchise history, just four points behind the team mark set in 1980.
The number of points the Patriots allowed this season, the second fewest in franchise history for a 16-game season.
The Patriots' total points differential in 2004, a mark that led the NFL and setting a new franchise record, besting the 140 mark set in 1976.
The average number of points per game the Patriots allowed in 2004, a number that ranked third in franchise history and tied for second in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles.
The number of times in the 20 seasons since Bill Belichick was first named a defensive coordinator (NYG, 1985) that his teams have allowed fewer than 20 points per game.
The number of consecutive seasons the Patriots have ranked among the league's top two teams in scoring defense. Last season, the Patriots led the NFL by allowing 14.9 points per game.
The Patriots' NFL ranking in total offense.
The Patriots' NFL ranking in rushing offense
The number of seasons since the Patriots had such a highly-ranked rushing offense, dating back to 1985.
The number of years since the Patriots were last ranked in the top 10 in offense, dating back to when they were ranked seventh in 1996.
The Patriots' NFL ranking in total defense.
The number of NFL teams ranked in the top 10 in both offense and defense in 2004 (New England and Denver).
The number of yards rushing Corey Dillon gained this season, setting a franchise record and career high and placing him third in the NFL despite having missed a game due to injury.
The number of games this season in which Dillon has passed the century mark in rushing yards, tying the Patriots franchise record and establishing a career high.
The average number of yards Dillon gained in the 15 games he played in this season, giving him the best yards-per-game played average among all NFL rushers.
The number of touchdowns Dillon recorded in 2004, a career high.
The number of rushing attempts Dillon recorded in 2004, setting a career high and placing him second in Patriots' history.
The average number of points the Patriots allowed at Gillette Stadium this season.
The number of sacks the Patriots registered this season, their highest sack total since also recording 45 sacks in 1997.
The number of Patriots defenders who registered at least one sack on the season.
The number of games this season in which the Patriots held opponents to fewer than 300 net yards.
THE BELICHICK ERA
Bill Belichick's overall record as head coach of the Patriots, including the regular season and the playoffs.
Belichick's record in New England when his team scores 25 points or more.
Belichick's record in New England when his team scores 21 points or more.
Consecutive games in which Tom Brady has started at quarterback.
Consecutive games in which Matt Light has started at left tackle.
Consecutive victories when producing a positive turnover differential.
Consecutive games in which the Patriots have scored in the second quarter.
Consecutive victories at Gillette Stadium (19 games including playoffs).
Consecutive overtime wins (8 games including playoffs).
Consecutive Patriots games televised locally, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
Consecutive sellouts in Foxborough, including preseason, regular-season and postseason games.
NOTE: All of the above streaks include regular-season games only, unless noted.