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BOSTON (CBS) – The Patriots are in the playoffs, we just don’t know when, where or if they’ll be playing come wild card weekend.
The Patriots currently sit at the three-seed, but heading into the final Sunday of the regular season can finish anywhere in the AFC’s Top 4.
With a win against the Dolphins at Gillette, and a little help, the Patriots can secure a first-round bye and potentially home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Here is how it can all play down for the Patriots on Sunday:
The Patriots finish the first overall seed if…
The Patriots win and the Texans (who play the Colts in Indianapolis) and Broncos (who host the 2-13 Kansas City Chiefs) both lose. All three would finish at 12-4, and the Patriots would get the top spot because they beat both teams during the regular season. Houston would be the two-seed thanks to their regular season win over the Broncos in Week 3.
The Patriots finish the two-seed if…
The Patriots win and either the Texans or Broncos lose.
The Patriots finish the three-seed if…
The Patriots, Texans and Broncos all win, or if the Patriots and Ravens both lose. Nothing would change in the current standings, and the Patriots would host a game on wild card weekend.
The Patriots finish the four-seed if…
The Patriots lose and the Ravens beat the Bengals in Cincinnati. Both teams would finish 11-5, with the Ravens owning the head-to-head tie-breaker. This would set the Patriots up for a meeting with the Colts on wild card weekend, with Indianapolis locked into the five-seed.
Power Rankings: Patriots Jump Up 2 Spots
With a very favorable matchup for the Broncos — who have won 10 straight — and the Texans looking to get back on track heading into the playoffs, the Patriots are likely looking at the three-seed. That would give them a home game on wild card weekend against the Bengals, followed by a trip to either Denver or Houston should they advance.
Tune in to Patriots-Dolphins Sunday afternoon at 4:25pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins on the Hub at 1pm with Patriots Preview, with three hours of post game coverage following the game. WBZ-TV’s coverage kicks off at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay, with Patriots 5th Quarter after the game on myTV38.