FOXBORO, Mass. — After all the doomsday talk about the Patriots possibly having to play on Wild Card Weekend for the first time since 2009, New England finds itself in a familiar position Sunday.
After thrashing the New York Jets 38-3 at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots clinched the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs, finishing with a record of 11-5.
Two weeks ago, New England looked to be in shambles after losing back-to-back December games for the first time since 2002. The Patriots entered their Week 16 game against the Buffalo Bills in third place in the AFC, but New England took over pole position for the No. 2 spot after the Houston Texan’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Brady and Co. cemented their playoff standing with Sunday’s win over the Jets.
The Patriots still can clinch the top seed in the AFC with losses by the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, although that seems improbable as the Chiefs face the hapless and Oakland Raiders, while the Bolts will take on the Denver Broncos.