USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots could benefit from beating the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday as they try to earn a first-round bye in the postseason.
The New England Patriots take on a slightly easier opponent after facing two of the league's best squads, as they head to Jacksonville to take on the lowly Jaguars.
New England couldn't make it eight in a row after stomping the Houston Texans, as their dramatic rally against the San Francisco 49ers couldn't give them the win after rallying back from 28 down. Jacksonville has only won two games in 14 tries, so they likely wouldn't give the Pats much trouble even if they were trying to win, which, considering they could earn the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, they might not be.
The game does have playoff implications for the Patriots. At 10-4, they're essentially eliminated from being the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but they could earn a bye and avoid having to play in a Wild Card game if they pass the 11-3 Denver Broncos in the standings. That would bye them extra rest, not to mention save them an elimination game against a playoff team. It would also give them a home game in the conference semifinals.
Here's a look at the entire schedule for Week 16:
Saturday, Dec. 22
Sunday Dec. 23