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With a win Week 17 and a loss by either the Houston Texans or Indianapolis Colts, the New England Patriots will get a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The New England Patriots have had their AFC East title sealed up for a few weeks, but Week 17's game will still likely have playoff implications as they try to get a first-round bye.
All six AFC playoff spots have already been decided: in addition to the Pats, the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Cincinnati Bengals will be in the postseason. Of those, only two will have the luxury of skipping the Wild Card round. One of those teams will be either the Broncos or Texans, both of whom are sitting at 12-4. With a Pats win next week and a loss by either team, the Patriots will get the other bye.
New England plays the Miami Dolphins at home, while Houston plays Indianapolis and Denver hosts Kansas City. The Dolphins have long been eliminated, the Colts have nothing to play for as they're guaranteed to play in the Wild Card round, and the Chiefs are 2-13, so none of the games will be that exciting.