Pats now have inside track to top seed

December, 12, 2013
12/12/13
11:32
PM ET
By virtue of San Diego's win over Denver on Thursday night, the New England Patriots now control their destiny for the top seed in the AFC, which would result in home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The loss drops Denver to 11-3, a half-game better than New England (10-3). However, because the Patriots own the head-to-head tiebreaker, if they win out, they would get the top seed in the conference.

The Patriots have three games remaining, including two on the road. If they defeat Miami, Baltimore and Buffalo, they'll earn the AFC's top seed for the third time in four seasons.

Below is an updated look at the AFC playoff standings:

Division leaders
1. Denver: 11-3 (clinched playoff berth)
2. New England: 10-3
3. Cincinnati: 9-4
4. Indianapolis: 8-5 (clinched AFC South)
Wild-card leaders
5. Kansas City: 10-3
6. Baltimore: 7-6
In the mix
7. Miami: 7-6
8. San Diego: 7-7
9. New York Jets 6-7
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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