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BOSTON (CBS) – The AFC is all wrapped up, and the Patriots will be one of two teams that gets to enjoy the first-round of the playoffs from home.
Thanks to their win over the Dolphins on Sunday, the Patriots clinched the two-seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. They won’t take the field again until January 13, when they will host either the Texans, Ravens or Colts at 4:30pm on WBZ-TV, the NFL announced late Sunday evening.
The Patriots entered Sunday the three-seed in the AFC, but thanks to the Texans losing to the Colts, were able to jump in front of them and get that all-important bye week. The Texans went from the top-seed to the three-seed with the loss, while the Denver Broncos claimed the AFC’s top-seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs thanks to their win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 10-6 Baltimore Ravens, AFC North Champs, finished with the four-seed while the Colts (11-6) and Bengals (10-6) claimed the two wild card spots.
So while the Patriots enjoy their weekend off, the Texans will now host the Bengals and the Colts will visit the Ravens. The highest remaining seed will then travel to New England for their January 13 matchup.
That means the Patriots will meet a team they have already played this season. New England beat both Houston and Indianapolis convincingly at home, while dropping their Week 3 meeting with the Ravens in Baltimore.
Whoever they face, it should be another great playoff matchup at Gillette Stadium. But judging by their recent woes and Week 14 trashing at Gillette on Monday Night Football, the Patriots are probably hoping the Texans advance.