Patriots & playoff scenarios

December, 25, 2011
12/25/11
12:45
PM ET
The Patriots are in prime position to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. All they need is a win over the Bills and it is theirs.

The Patriots have played some of their better football on the road compared to home. That is in contrast to two of the teams considered their biggest threat -- the Ravens and Steelers -- who have looked like different teams on the road (Ravens 3-4, Steelers 4-3).

A look at the complete AFC playoff scenarios:

CLINCHED
New England Patriots -- East Division and a first-round bye
Houston Texans -- South Division
Baltimore Ravens -- wild card spot
Pittsburgh Steelers -- wild card spot

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs:
1) NE win or tie
2) BAL loss or tie + PIT loss or tie

BALTIMORE RAVENS
Baltimore clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye:
1) BAL win
2) BAL tie + PIT loss or tie
3) PIT loss

Baltimore clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs:
1) BAL win + NE loss

PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Pittsburgh clinches AFC North Division and a first-round bye:
1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie
2) PIT tie + BAL loss

Pittsburgh clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs:
1) PIT win + BAL loss or tie + NE loss

DENVER BRONCOS
Denver clinches AFC West Division:
1) DEN win
2) DEN tie + OAK loss or tie
3) OAK loss

OAKLAND RAIDERS
Oakland clinches AFC West Division:
1) OAK win + DEN loss or tie
2) OAK tie + DEN loss

Oakland clinches a wild card spot:
1) OAK win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie
2) OAK win + CIN loss + NYJ win

CINCINNATI BENGALS
Cincinnati clinches a wild card spot:
1) CIN win or tie
2) NYJ loss or tie + OAK loss or tie
3) NYJ loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

NEW YORK JETS
NY Jets clinch a wild card spot:
1) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + OAK loss or tie
2) NYJ win + CIN loss + TEN loss or tie + DEN loss or tie

TENNESSEE TITANS
Tennessee clinches a wild card spot:
1) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + OAK loss or tie
2) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ win + DEN loss or tie
3) TEN win + CIN loss + NYJ loss or tie + OAK win + DEN win

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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