Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/9/14

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots gestures as he lines up in the shotgun formation against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Patriots pulled out maybe their ugliest win of the season on Sunday, but style points weren’t a concern as they managed to keep pace for a first-round bye in the AFC playoff picture. Tom Brady led the Patriots to a gut-wrenching 23-16 win in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon, maintaining their place as the No. 3 team in the AFC. While taking care of their own business against the Jaguars, the Patriots also received some help from an unexpected source in respect to their playoff seeding. The Minnesota Vikings, who are fighting for their own playoff lives, defeated the AFC-leading Houston Texans 23-6 on Sunday afternoon. Houston’s loss had no effect on their playoff hopes, as they’ve already clinched the AFC South, but it did impact their potential seeding, keeping hope alive for New England to claim one of the two playoff byes. A loss to the division-rival Colts in Indianapolis next week would drop the Texans to 12-4 on the season, meaning all the Patriots would need is a win to lock down one of the two byes. The Texans’ scenario isn’t the only possibility for the Patriots, though, it’s just the most likely. If the Broncos lose to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs next weekend, then the Patriots would also be able to secure a bye. The Patriots hold the tiebreaker against the Broncos and Texans, because of head-to-head wins against both teams earlier this season — Week 5 and 14 respectively. If all three teams finish at 12-4, the Patriots hold the three-team tiebreaker because of record against conference opponents. The AFC playoff teams are all settled, with the Bengals, Colts and Ravens being the three other teams set to play in January, but the conference playoff picture is still very much up in the air. There are plenty of scenarios still left to be worked out, and the Patriots have a number of possibilities still on the table. Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Australian cricket player dies from head injuries

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE, says he'll never return

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

CM Punk opens up about leaving WWE

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.