It’s official: The New England Patriots will enter the 2018 NFL playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
The 11-5 Patriots, who steamrolled the New York Jets 38-3 on Sunday to clinch a first-round bye, entered Week 17 with an outside chance of nabbing the No. 1 seed and securing home-field advantage. Those hopes were dashed when the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders, however.
In order to earn the top seed, the Patriots would have needed to win and have both the Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers lose. Kansas City’s victory locks the Chiefs into the No. 1 spot. L.A. will be the fifth seed and will play next weekend in the wild-card round.
The Chiefs and Patriots received byes to the divisional round. New England has not played on wild-card weekend since 2009.
The Patriots are undefeated in their last seven divisional-round games and are seeking their eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game appearance. Five of those seven games were decided by multiple touchdowns.
Depending on the wild-card games, the Patriots will host either the third-seeded Houston Texans, fourth-seeded Baltimore Ravens or fifth-seeded Chargers the following weekend.