AFC playoff picture: Patriots secure No. 2 seed, playoff bye


UPDATE (Sunday, Dec. 30 at 7:03 p.m. ET): It's now official. The New England Patriots (11-5) are the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) held on to the No. 1 seed by beating the Oakland Raiders 35-7 at home. The Houston Texans (11-5) are locked into the No. 3 seed.

--End of update--

The New England Patriots have assured themselves of at least the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs with their Week 17 win over the New York Jets.

The Pats dispatched of their AFC East rivals 38-3 to finish the season 11-5 for the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff race. New England can still earn the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs if the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers both lose Sunday.

The Chiefs entered Week 17 as the No. 1 seed with an 11-4 record. They host the Oakland Raiders at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday. The Chargers are the No. 5 seed at 11-4 and play the Denver Broncos on the road at 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Houston Texans secured at least the No. 3 seed with their win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The victory also clinched the AFC South title for Houston. The Texans cannot finish ahead of the Patriots because New England beat Houston in Week 1 and therefore owns the tiebreaker.

The Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns at 4:25 p.m. ET and would clinch the AFC North with a victory. 

The Tennessee Titans host the Indianapolis Colts on "Sunday Night Football" to end the regular season. The winner earns a wild-card playoff berth.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who host the Cincinnati Bengals at 4:25 p.m. ET, can win the AFC North with a win and a Ravens loss/tie, or if they tie the Bengals and the Ravens lose. The Steelers clinch a wild-card berth if they beat Cincy and the Colts-Titans game ends in a tie. 

Here's the updated AFC playoff picture.

*1. Chiefs 12-4
*2. Patriots 11-5
*3. Texans 11-5
4. Ravens 8-6-1
*5. Chargers 11-4
6. Colts 9-6
*Clinched postseason berth

Titans 9-6
Steelers 8-6-1

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