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BOSTON (CBS) – It’s not often the New England Patriots can thank the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But because of the Steelers 23-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, the Patriots woke up Monday morning tied with both the Ravens and Denver Broncos for the number-two seed in the AFC playoff standings.
All three teams are currently 9-3, but the Patriots hold the advantage in the three-way tie due to their 8-1 record in the AFC and would lay claim to the two-seed if the playoffs began today. The Ravens are 8-2 against AFC foes while the Broncos check in at 6-2.
With the two-seed comes a coveted first-round bye and home game in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Things will get interesting in a couple of weeks, when the Ravens and Broncos play each other on December 16 in Baltimore.
The Patriots lost their Week 3 matchup with the Ravens, but were victorious in Week 5 against the Broncos. Should the Ravens win their matchup with the Denver, they would be on the fast-track to clinching the number-two seed — owning victories over both the Pats and Broncos.
If both the Patriots and Ravens win out the rest of the way, the Ravens would claim the two-seed thanks to their head-to-head record against New England.
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In addition to their game with Denver, the Ravens have a game in Washington against the Redskins, at home against the New York Giants, and in Cincinnati against the Bengals.
Denver has a much easier schedule to end the season, with a game in Oakland up next and games against the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs in Denver to close the year.
The Houston Texans, who visit Gillette next Monday night, currently hold the number-one seed in the AFC thanks to their 11-1 record. The Colts (8-4) and Steelers (7-5) hold the two Wild Card spots.