The Patriots can clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs if they beat the Buffalo Bills this Saturday OR if Kansas City loses to Chicago at Arrowhead Stadium.
New England has already clinched:
- The 2003 AFC East title (The Patriots' seventh overall title and their second in three seasons).
- A first round bye in the NFL Playoffs. The Patriots are guaranteed one of the AFC's top two seeds and will host an AFC Divisional game on the weekend of January 10-11.
If New England defeats the Buffalo Bills this weekend:
- The Patriots will finish with a franchise-record 14-2 mark, the best record in the AFC. New England would host an AFC Divisional playoff game on the weekend of January 10-11. If the Patriots win their Divisional game, they would then host the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18. The Patriots are 7-0 at Gillette Stadium this season and are 16-3 (.842) in their last 19 home games.
If the Patriots lose to Buffalo:
- If Kansas City beats Chicago at home and the New England loses to Buffalo, the Patriots and Chiefs would be involved in a two-way tie to determine the top seed in the AFC. In this case the Wild Card tiebreakers would be applied. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head record, which does not apply since the teams did not play in the regular season. The second tiebreaker is conference record, and the teams would remain tied with identical 10-2 records against the AFC. The third tiebreaker is record against common opponents (minimum four). The Patriots and Chiefs have both played Buffalo, Cleveland, Denver and Houston. Kansas City has a 4-1 record against these teams, and if the Patriots lose to Buffalo, they would have a 3-2 record against the four common opponents. In this scenario, Kansas City would earn the top seed in the conference and the Patriots would earn the second seed.
- If New England loses to Buffalo and Kansas City also loses to Chicago, the Patriots would earn the top seed in the conference and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. In that scenario, New England would finish with a 13-3 record and Kansas City would finish 12-4.