BOSTON (CBS) — Heading into Week 16, the process for securing the No. 1 seed in the AFC was pretty clear. If the Patriots won and the Raiders lost, then the No. 1 seed would belong to New England.
However, both teams ended up winning — the Patriots over the Jets, the Raiders over the Colts — and so, the fight for the top overall seed and the home-field advantage that comes with it will be pushed to the final day of the regular season.
And, this week, it’s just as simple.
–If the Patriots win their game in Miami, they will finish with a 14-2 record and will own the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
–If the Patriots lose their game in Miami, and the Raiders win their game at Denver, then the Raiders will secure the No. 1 seed via tiebreaker with New England.
–If the Patriots lose their game in Miami, and the Raiders lose their game in Denver, then the Patriots will be the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
Last year, the Patriots lost in Miami in Week 17, a loss that cost them the top spot in the AFC. As a result, they had to travel to Denver for the AFC Championship Game, where they lost by two points.
Of course, the neck-and-neck race for the top seed in the AFC was soured a bit by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffering a broken fibula during the Raiders’ victory. They’ll now be quarterbacked by Matt McGloin, who has thrown just four passes this year and in his four-year career owns a 58.3 percent completion rate with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.