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NFL Playoff Scenarios: New England Patriots Clinch First-Round Bye, Win Away From No. 1 Seed

Sunday's come-from-behind 27-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins not only clinched a first-round AFC playoff bye for the New England Patriots, but basically insured that the Pats will be the No. 1-overall seed in the playoffs. Meaning, the road to Super Bowl XLVI (46) will need to go through Foxborough, MA.

However, that playoff scenario isn't a sure thing. First, the Patriots need to beat the visiting Buffalo Bills in Week 17. If that happens then New England clinches the No. 1 seed. But, if the Bills do beat the Pats then the Baltimore Ravens would need to beat the Cincinnati Bengals; or the Pittsburgh Steelers, who own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pats, will need to lose to the at the Cleveland Browns for New England to be No. 1.

AFC Playoff Picture

Division Leaders
New England Patriots (12-3) Clinched Division
Baltimore Ravens (11-4) Clinched Playoff Berth
Houston Texans (10-5) Clinched Division
Tied: Denver Broncos (8-7) and Oakland Raiders (8-7)

Wild-Card
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) Cliched Playoff Berth
Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)

In The Hunt
Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
Tennessee Titans (8-7)