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2012 NFL schedule, Week 16: Patriots play Jaguars in game with seeding implications

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

Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions, 8 p.m., ESPN

Sunday Dec. 23

Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1 p.m., CBS

New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m., CBS

Minnesota Vikings vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m., FOX

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m., CBS

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS

St. Louis Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m., FOX

San Diego Chargers vs. New York Jets, 1 p.m., CBS

Oakland Raiders vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., CBS

Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m., FOX

Tennessee Titans vs. Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m., CBS

New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m., FOX

Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos, 4 p.m., CBS

New York Giants vs. Baltimore Ravens, 4:25 p.m., FOX

Chicago Bears vs. Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m., FOX

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks, 8:30 p.m., ESPN