Patriots fans, mark your calendars for Sunday, Jan. 13. After they take next weekend off, the Patriots will host their third straight 1 o’clock game at Gillette Stadium.
Shortly after New England clinched the No. 2 playoff seed in the AFC earlier today, thus guaranteeing the club a postseason bye over Wild Card Weekend, the Patriots learned that they’ll have two full weeks before playing again.
The NFL just released the playoff schedule for the next two weekends, and New England has been slotted for the 1 p.m. Eastern kickoff on Sunday of the Divisional Round. That will be the third game of that weekend, when the Patriots will host the highest remaining seed that advances from the Wild Card games next weekend.
That means either the No. 3 Houston Texans (champions of the AFC South), four-seed Baltimore Ravens (winners of the AFC North), or Wild Card participant L.A. Chargers, the fifth seed, will visit Foxborough on the 13thof next month.
The Kansas City Chiefs, as the top seed in the AFC, will host the lowest seeded team that survives the Wild Card Round – either the Ravens, Chargers, or sixth seed (whoever wins the Colts-Titans game currently in progress) – on Jan. 12 at 4:35 Eastern, the night before New England takes the field.
After beating the Jets earlier today, head coach Bill Belichick gave his team New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day off. The Patriots will return to practice this coming Wednesday, Jan. 2.