FOXBORO (CBS) — They may have taken a roundabout way to get there, but the Patriots have arrived where they always want to be at season’s end: owners of a first-round playoff bye, awaiting an opponent for a home game in the divisional round.
The Patriots achieved that status by beating the Jets on Sunday, 38-3, at Gillette Stadium.
And, after the Chiefs defeated the Raiders later on Sunday, 35-3, the Patriots were locked in as the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff picture.
Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes in the first half, as the Patriots took a 21-3 lead into the locker room at halftime. Kyle Van Noy recovered a Sam Darnold fumble and returned it 46 yards for a defensive touchdown in the second half to extend that lead, and the Patriots rolled to a comfortable victory to finish the season with an 8-0 record at home.
Brady connected with Julian Edelman for a five-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make the lead 38-3.
Overall, the Patriots finish the season with an 11-5 record, winners of the AFC East for the 10th straight season.
The Patriots will have the benefit of resting next week for wild card weekend, awaiting to learn who they will host in the divisional round on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1 p.m.
For the Patriots, in addition to winning their division for the 10th straight season, it’s their ninth straight season with at least 11 wins. It’s also their 15th time with at least 11 wins in a season over the past 18 seasons.