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Patriots Playoff Update: A look at various playoff scenarios in the AFC

Patriots get early Christmas gift from Eagles.

Six teams in each conference – four division winners and two wild cards – make the playoffs. The two division winners with the best records in each conference earn first-round byes.

Christmas came a bit early for the Patriots as the Philadelphia Eagles played the role of jolly St. Nick by beating the Houston Texans with a last-second field goal. To be more specific, St. Nick Foles delivered the present by throwing for 470 yards and four touchdowns while leading the final drive that ended with the Eagles 32-30 win.

That result meant the Patriots 24-12 win over the Bills not only secured the 10th consecutive AFC East title for New England but also vaulted the team into the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. Coupled with losses by both the Chargers (to Ravens) and Chiefs (at Seahawks), the Patriots are actually still in contention for the No. 1 seed.

But first things first: the Patriots need to close out the season with a win over the Jets to nail down a first-round bye. Here are some of the scenarios facing the Patriots entering Week 17:

To gain No. 2 seed:

Patriots need to beat Jets or Texans lose to Jaguars and Ravens lose to Browns.

To gain No. 1 seed:

Patriots need to beat Jets and Chargers lose at Broncos and Chiefs lose to Raiders.

To drop to No. 3 seed

Patriots would get No. 3 seed with a loss and wins by either Texans or Ravens.

Chiefs 11-4 4-1 9-2 Oak.
Patriots 10-5 4-1 7-4 NYJ
Texans 10-5 3-2 8-3 Jax.
Ravens 9-6 2-3 7-4 Cle.
Chargers 11-4 3-2 8-3 at Den.
Colts 9-6 3-2 6-5 at Ten.
Table inside Article
Titans 9-6 3-2 5-6 Ind.
Steelers 8-6-1 3-1-1 5-5-1 Cin.

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