BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots got some help on Sunday, propelling them back into the No. 2 seed in the AFC.

And with some more help in Week 17, the Patriots may find themselves as the No. 1 team in the conference. Yes, despite all the struggles along the way, the road to Super Bowl LIII may still go through New England this postseason.

The Patriots clinched their 10th straight AFC East title with their 24-12 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, and with the Philadelphia Eagles beating the Houston Texans, the Pats are back to having a first-round bye. They will clinch the No. 2 seed with a win on Sunday over the visiting New York Jets, but can jump even higher if the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers stumble again.

The Chiefs are 11-4 after dropping their last three games, putting the Patriots in a prime position to slide into the No. 1 seed if Kansas City’s struggles continue Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. But the Los Angeles Chargers, also at 11-4, could jump up from the No. 5 seed and take over as the No. 1 with a win.

And that’s just the mess at the top of the conference. Only four teams have clinched a playoff berth, with four teams fighting for the final two playoff spots (the Ravens and Colts are in, with the Steelers and Titans on the outside of the playoff picture at the moment). The only division that has been decided is the AFC East and no seed has been locked up yet, so there will be plenty of jockeying for position on Sunday.

Here are the important games to keep an eye on in Week 17 (playoff teams in bold; teams in playoff hunt italicized):

Jets @ Patriots — 1 p.m.
Jaguars @ Texans  — 1 p.m.
Browns @ Ravens — 4:25 p.m.
Bengals @ Steelers — 4:25 p.m.
Raiders @ Chiefs  — 4:25 p.m.
Chargers @ Broncos — 4:25 p.m.
Colts @ Titans — 8:20 p.m.

There is a whole lot is riding on those seven games, which makes for a really fun couple of hours with the ESPN Playoff Machine. While the Patriots currently sit in the No. 2 spot in the AFC, they could find themselves anywhere from No. 1 to No. 4 come Sunday afternoon.

Here are New England’s postseason scenarios heading into Week 17:

Patriots Get No. 1 Seed If…

– The Patriots beat the Jets

AND

– The Chiefs lose to the Raiders

AND

– The Chargers lose to the Broncos

It’s highly unlikely the Raiders will beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead. And even if it does happen, the Patriots also need the Chargers to lose in Denver. All of that is unlikely, but there’s still an outside chance the Patriots earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Patriots Clinch The No. 2 Seed If…

– The Patriots beat the Jets

That’s it. The Patriots just need to win on Sunday to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs.

Patriots Clinch The No. 2 Seed With A Loss If…

– The Texans lose to the Jaguars

AND

– The Browns beat the Ravens

AND

– The Colts beat the Titans

Not ideal, so maybe the Patriots should just beat the Jets on Sunday.

Patriots Fall To No. 3 Seed If…

– The Patriots lose to the Jets

AND

– The Texans beat the Jaguars

AND

– The Browns beat the Ravens

***OR***

– The Patriots lose to the Jets

AND

– The Texans lose to the Jaguars

AND

– The Browns beat the Ravens

AND

– The Titans beat the Colts

(In this scenario, the Patriots would fall to No. 3 with the 10-6 Titans taking over as the AFC’s No. 2 seed)

***OR***

– The Patriots lose to the Jets

AND

– The Texans lose to the Jaguars

AND

– The Ravens beat the Browns

AND

– The Colts beat the Titans

(If this is how it plays out, the Patriots would host the Texans on wild-card weekend, with the 10-6 Ravens taking over as the No. 2 seed)

If any of these happen, the Patriots would play on wild-card for the first time since 2009.

Patriots Fall To No. 4 Seed If…

– The Patriots lose to the Jets

AND

– The Texans beat the Jaguars

AND

– The Ravens beat the Browns

(The Pats would host whoever is the five-seed, which would be either the Chiefs of Chargers)

***OR***

The Patriots lose to the Jets

AND

The Texans lose to the Jaguars

AND

The Ravens beat the Browns

AND

The Titans beat the Colts

The Colts and the Titans are playing for a playoff spot, with the loser getting eliminated, so that game has been flexed to Sunday night. The winner will likely be the No. 6 seed in the AFC, but could rise to the No. 2 seed depending how everything else plays out. In a wild scenario where the Patriots, Texans and Ravens all lose on Sunday, the Titans would be the No. 2 seed with a win.

So there it is, though we did not factor ties into the equation, because there is not enough coffee in the world to break all of that down. But if the Patriots tie the Jets and the Texans lose, New England would still be the No. 2 seed. If the Pats tie the Jets and the Texans win, Houston would jump back into the No. 2 seed.

But what it really boils down to is the Patriots control their fate in the standings. A win over the Jets and they’re the No. 2 seed, with a slim shot at getting home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But a loss on Sunday will make everything a lot more complicated, and the Patriots run the risk of falling to the No. 4 seed by Sunday night.

It may be Week 17, but it certainly feels like the playoffs have already arrived.

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