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Sunday, December 30, 2012
Patriots would earn bye with win

By Field Yates

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- By virtue of the Texans' 28-16 loss to the Colts on Sunday, the Patriots now control their own destiny for a top-two seed in the AFC and a first-round bye.

The Patriots must beat the Dolphins today in order to clinch at least the second seed.

If the Patriots win and the visiting Chiefs defeat the Broncos today, the Patriots would clinch the top seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs (an unlikely scenario).

A Patriots loss today would keep them at the third seed and set up a game next weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals, the final Wild Card team in the AFC.

Further explanations of playoff scenarios for the Patriots involving the top two seeds, including potential opponents, are laid out here.