Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 12/23/12
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:
The first time John Randle talked trash in the NFL
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Romo has no ligament damage, to resume training soon

Eagles rookie to join Kaepernick in protesting national anthem

Michael Phelps to be honored with unique Wheaties box

Woman suing Brewers after being struck by foul ball

Report: ‘Strong chance’ J.J. Watt will play in Week 1

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Broncos name Trevor Siemian their Week 1 starter

Report: Jets fielding calls for Geno Smith

Report: Bryan Stork fails physical, rights revert to Pats

Eric Berry signs franchise tender, returns to Chiefs

Brandon Jennings takes swipe at Reggie Miller's career

Report: Kaepernick facing ‘uphill battle’ to make roster

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Six NFL quarterbacks the Cowboys must consider

Dwight Howard trying new way to improve free throw shooting

Eight players who have stepped up in NFL preseason so far

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: John Randle on the first time he talked trash in the NFL

The hottest hitters in MLB heading into September sprint

Who has the most to prove at the US Open?

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker