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Game Notes: Patriots earn top seed in AFC Playoff field

PATRIOTS EARN TOP SEED IN AFC PLAYOFF FIELD
The Patriots have now earned six number one seeds (2016, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003) in the postseason since 1990, the most in the NFL under that system. The NFL began playoff seeding in 1975 and the current playoff format was instituted in 1990.

MOST NO. 1 SEEDS IN THE PLAYOFF FIELD
(Since 1990)
New England    6
Denver    5
Dallas    4
Pittsburgh    4
San Francisco    4

MOST NO. 1 SEEDS OVERALL
(Since 1975)
San Francisco    8
Denver    8
New England    6
Pittsburgh    6
Dallas    6
Oakland    5

PATRIOTS WIN 14 GAMES FOR FIFTH TIME IN TEAM HISTORY
The win over the Miami was the Patriots 14th win of the season. The Patriots have now won 14 or games in a season five times, the most in NFL history. 
Patriots 14-Win Seasons 
2003-14-2
2004-14-2
2007-16-0
2010-14-2
2016- 14-2 

Most Seasons with 14 or More Wins
Team        14 or more win seasons
New England    5
San Francisco    4
Chicago        2
Indianapolis    2
Miami        2
Pittsburgh    2
Washington    2

STINGY DEFENSE
The Patriots defense has 11 seasons holding opponents under 20 points per game since 2001, including in each of the last three seasons. The 2016 Patriots have allowed just 15.6 points per game, the best in the NFL. The only other time the Patriots have led the NFL in this category was in 2003 when they finished by allowing just 14.9 points per game.

The Patriots defense has held it opponent under 20 points in 11 games in 2016, tied for the most under Bill Belichick. The Patriots held their opponents under 20 points 11 times in 2001 and 2006. 

Fewest Points Allowed by the Patriots in a Season
157 - 1982 (9 games)
217 - 1977 
236 - 1976 
237 - 2006
238 – 2003
250 - 2016
257 – 1963
260 – 2004
272- 2001
274 - 2007

ROAD WARRIORS
The 2016 Patriots finished 8-0 on the road for the second time in team history with the win at Miami. The only other season the Patriots went undefeated on the road was in 2008 with an 8-0 record. The Patriots join San Francisco (3 times) as the only NFL team with two 8-0 undefeated road seasons. 

NFL TEAMS THAT HAVE FINISHED WITH AN 8-0 ROAD RECORD
Team            Year
New England        2016
Dallas            2014
New England         2007
St. Louis        2001
San Francisco        1990
San Francisco        1989
San Francisco        1984

DIVISIONAL DOMINANCE
The New England Patriots own a 76-22 (.775) record in regular-season AFC East games since the beginning of the 2001 season, compiling the best intra-division record of any team in the NFL. 

PATRIOTS SET NFL MARK WITH JUST TWO INTERCEPTIONS IN 2016;
The Patriots set an NFL record by throwing just two interceptions in 2016. The previous NFL record for fewest interceptions thrown in a season by an NFL team since the 1970 merger was five. The 2016 Patriots had just two interceptions on 550 pass attempts. The 2016 Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings entered the final week with just four interceptions. 

PATRIOTS HAVE THE BEST TD/INT. PERCENTAGE IN NFL HISTORY
The 2016 Patriots threw 32 touchdowns and had just two interceptions for an NFL record TD/INT. percentage of 16.0 

2017 OPPONENTS DETERMINED
The Patriots 2017 opponents have been determined. In addition to playing each of the other AFC East opponents twice, the Patriots will play one game against each of the AFC West and NFC South teams. As the first-place team in the AFC East, the Patriots will play the first-place team of the AFC South (Houston) and AFC North (Pittsburgh). 

Home: Buffalo, Miami., NY Jets, Atlanta, Carolina, Houston, Kansas City, San Diego, 
Away: Buffalo, Miami., NY Jets, Denver, New Orleans, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay

INDIVIDUAL NOTES  

BILL BELICHICK LEADS THE PATRIOTS TO 14 AGAIN
Bill Belichick guided the Patriots to a 14-2 record in 2016. It is his the fifth time that he has coached a team to 14 wins, most in NFL history by a head coach. 

Most 14 win Season by a Head Coach
Bill Belichick    5 (2003, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2016)
George Seifert    3
Joe Gibbs        2
Mike Ditka        2
Don Shula        2

BRADY MOVES PAST MARINO INTO FOURTH PLACE FOR MOST PASSING YARDS
Tom Brady moved past Dan Marino into fourth place on the NFL's all-time passing yards list on a 6-yard pass to WR Chris Hogan in the first quarter. He entered the Miami game needing 56 yards to pass Marino. 

BRADY HAD JUST TWO INTERCEPTIONS IN 2016
Tom Brady threw just two interceptions in 432 pass attempts in 2016. 

BRADY HAS BEST TD/INTERCEPTION RATIO IN A SINGLE SEASON
Tom Brady threw 28 touchdown passes and just two interceptions in 2016 for an NFL-best TD/INT ratio of 14.0. 

LB SHEA MCCLELLIN HAS LONGEST FUMBLE RETURN IN TEAM HISTORY
LB Shea McClellin returned a Miami fumble that was forced by S Devin McCourty 69 yards in the fourth quarter. It is the longest fumble return in team history. The previous best was a 68-yard return for a touchdown by DE Richard Seymour at Buffalo on Oct. 3, 2004. 

BLOUNT ADDS HIS 18TH RUSHING TOUCHDOWN OF THE SEASON
RB LeGarrette Blount added to his team record with his 18th rushing touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter. His 18 rushing touchdowns led the NFL. He joins Jim Nance, who led the AFL in rushing with 11 in 1966 and 7 in 1967, as the only Patriots player to lead in rushing touchdowns. Blount's 18 rushing touchdowns are the most in the NFL since Adrian Peterson had 18 for Minnesota in 2009. 

MOST RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS/SEASON IN PATRIOTS HISTORY
18    LeGarrette Blount, 2016
14    Curtis Martin, 1996
14    Curtis Martin, 1995
13    BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 2010
13    Corey Dillon, 2006
12    Stevan Ridley, 2012
12    Corey Dillon, 2005
12    Corey Dillon, 2004
12    Antowain Smith, 2001
12    Steve Grogan, 1976 
11    BenJarvis Green-Ellis, 2011
11    Horace Ivory,1978
11    Jim Nance, 1966
10    Tony Collins, 1983 

Patriots record for most overall touchdowns in a season
23 Randy Moss, 2007 (23 receiving)
18 LeGarrette Blount, 2016 (18 rushing)
18 Rob Gronkowksi, 2011 (17 receiving and 1 rushing)
17 Curtis Martin, 1996 (14 rushing and 3 receiving)
15 Curtis Martin, 1995 (14 rushing and 1 receiving)

BRADY NEARING THE TOP FOR WINS OVERALL
Tom Brady has the most wins by an NFL quarterback with 205 career wins. His 205 wins are the fifth most among all players. 
Most Wins by an NFL Player
Player        Wins
Adam Vinatieri    220
George Blanda    218
Gary Anderson     212
Jerry Rice        210
Tom Brady    205

EDELMAN HAS SECOND CAREER 1,000-YARD SEASON
WR Julian Edelman had his second career 1,000-yard receiving season after setting a single-season best with 1,106 yards. Edelman entered the game needing 45 yards and went over the 1,000-yard mark on 14-yard reception in the second quarter. He joins Wes Welker (5), Rob Gronkowski (3), Randy Moss (3), Stanley Morgan (3) and Terry Glenn (2) as the only Patriots players with at least two 1,000-yard seasons. Edelman had 1,056 yards receiving in 2013. 

Most 1,000 Yard Season/Patriots History
5 Wes Welker
3 Rob Gronkowski
3 Randy Moss
3 Stanley Morgan
2 Julian Edelman
2 Terry Glenn

EDELMAN SET CAREER HIGH WITH 77-YARD TOUCHDOWN
WR Julian Edelman scored on a 77-yard touchdown in the third quarter. The 77-yard touchdown is a career long. His previous best was a 69-yard touchdown at San Diego on Dec. 7, 2014. Edelman now has four touchdown passes of 50 or more yards. 
Edelman's 50-yard touchdown passes
77t at Miami, Jane. 1, 2017
69t at San Diego, Dec. 7, 2014
59t at Dallas, Oct. 11, 2015
56t at NY Jets, Nov. 22, 2012

EDELMAN SETS CAREER BEST IN RECEIVING YARDS
Edelman went over 100 yards receiving for the second time in 2016 and set a single-game best with 151 receiving yards. His previous best was 141 receiving yards at San Diego on Dec. 7, 2014. His other 100-yard game in 2016 was 101 vs. Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 2016. It is Edelman's 11th 100-yard game (nine in the regular season and two in the postseason). 

TE MARTELLUS BENNET SETS CAREER HIGH IN TOUCHDOWNS
TE Martellus Bennett set a single-season career best after scoring on a 2-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter for his seventh touchdown of the season. Bennett's previous best was six touchdowns in 2014 with Chicago. 

NATE EBNER FINISHES TIED FOR FIRST IN NFL IN SPECIAL TEAMS TACKLES
DB Nate Ebner had a team-leading and career-best 19 special teams tackles in 2016, which was tied with Miami's Michael Thomas (19) for the NFL lead. He has had 10 or more tackles in each of his five NFL seasons.

BRADY HAS THROWN TOUCHDOWN PASSES TO 65 DIFFERENT PLAYERS; SECOND PLACE FOR TD TARGETS BY A QB
Tom Brady connected with WR Michael Floyd in the first quarter. Brady has now thrown touchdown passes to 65 different players in the regular season, behind Vinny Testaverde who had 70. 

Most Touchdown Targets by an NFL Quarterback
QUARTERBACK        TD TARGETS
Vinny Testaverde        70
Tom Brady        65
Steve DeBerg        62
Brett Favre            61

LINEUP NOTES

NEWLY ACQUIRED WR MICHAEL FLOYD MAKES FIRST START AS A PATRIOT
WR Michael Floyd made his first start as a member of the Patriots. He scored his first touchdown with the Patriots on a 14-yard pass from Tom Brady in the second quarter. 

DON'T'A HIGHTOWER RETURNS TO THE STARTING LINEUP
LB Dont'a Hightower returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous game. 

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